There has certainly been a significant decline in the amount of people who smoke. Thanks to aggressive anti-smoking movements, education and taxes there are far less people smoking today than a few years ago. But although smoking has been greatly reduced, there are still a lot of people who are lighting up on a regular basis.
Despite all the negative publicity and high costs, there are still some 38 million Americans who smoke cigarettes. The divide between who puffs and who passes on traditional tobacco cigarettes today is largely drawn by often overlapping factors such as income, education and geography. There are disparities in these areas which are key to whether and how smokers try to quit the country’s leading cause of preventable disease and death.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention the smoking rate for adults who had earned a GED certificate was about 41 percent in 2016, while less than 5 percent of adults with a graduate degree smoked cigarettes.
There is also a distinct connection between smoking and poverty. According to the CDC, national figures indicate that 15.5 percent of all adults were smokers in 2016, led by Kentucky and West Virginia where nearly a quarter of adults in each state smoked in 2016 – states with higher poverty rates and fewer tobacco regulations also tend to have higher smoking rates.
According to the “Truth initiative”, an anti-tobacco advocacy group there is a twelve-state region which stretches from the upper Midwest to the Southeast that has such high smoking rates it is referred to as “Tobacco Nation” by the organization.
The fact that some people are still smoking may not be for a lack of trying to quit. Those of lower socioeconomic status are equally likely to attempt quitting as those of higher status but are far less likely to succeed.
Although the use of cigarettes has dropped significantly over the past few years, it appears there will still be plenty of people smoking for the foreseeable future.