Here’s Why Smoking Is At An All Time Low
In February this year, the Centers for Disease Control released figures that shows tobacco use in the US is at its lowest point since records began. This year, stats show that only 15.3% of American identify as tobacco smokers, a drop of almost ten percent from the numbers in 1997, where almost a quarter of the population were smoking regularly.
Whilst these results can only be positive for public health overall, there are several factors that could have contributed to the use of traditional tobacco products going on the wane.
A report by CNN listed money as one of the top ten reasons more and more people are turning away from smoking. State imposed tax on the tobacco industry has pushed the price of packets up higher and higher in recent times, and is undoubtable making more consumer think twice about their habit. Whilst prices vary from state to state, you will find it difficult to get a packet for much less than $6 anywhere in the country. In New York for example, a tobacco habit could set you back as much as $4,690 over a full year, a figure that is substantial enough to shock anyone, regardless of your income! The medical costs for treating smoke related illnesses run into the thousands, and with low-income and under-privileged individuals most likely to suffer from these sorts of diseases, the cost of a cigarette is likely to end up much higher than the cash you hand over the counter at the store.
Over the past two decades, our understanding of the long-term side effects of tobacco smoke has increased massively. The treatment of illnesses that find their root in cigarettes costs around $333 billion annually according to the American Lung Association, with diseases such as lung cancer, heart disease, strokes and COPD all common afflictions of long-term smokers. Tobacco smoke has become America’s number one killer, and is responsible for almost one in five of all deaths in the US. This means the habit claims over 480,000 lives a year. This is more than the fatalities caused by HIV, illegal drug and alcohol use, motor vehicle accident and firearm-related incident combined – which really puts smoking into perspective, doesn’t it?
Whilst United States Congress has not imposed any nationwide smoke bans, many states have acted on their own to created preventative measures in public places that prevent non-smokers from suffering the consequences of other people’s tobacco smoke. California was the first state to enact such a ban in 1995, which included restaurants and enclosed workspaces. In 1998, this was extended to bars. Today, the list of areas in which tobacco smoke is banned is extensive, and this is just state rules- local jurisdiction often regulate the use of tobacco products to a further extent, which begs the question, why bother if there isn’t anywhere you can smoke anyway? The necessity to go out into the cold away from friends and family at gathering, to leave your desk and building at work and go offsite has influenced many smokers to give the habit up entirely, as it just wasn’t worth the effort any more.
Since their arrival on the market in the early 2000’s the popularity of e-cigarettes and vaping has risen in popularity threefold, coinciding with the decline of traditional tobacco products. As we’ve already seen, there are a number of factors at play in tobacco figures reaching a new low but the correlation can’t be chalked down to mere coincidence.
E-cigarettes offer a handy and appealing change to those looking to cut down or cut out traditional cigarettes. Those who choose to try and kick their tobacco habit cold turkey are generally less able to maintain their new-found lifestyle opposed to those who utilize cessation aids. E-cigarettes are now widely available in a massive range of styles, and offer an almost like-for-like alternative to those who seek an alternative to purchasing ordinary cigarettes.
Have you chosen to move away from traditional tobacco products? Tell us your reasons in the comments below, or on social media.