The smoking rate for adults has seen a massive drop since 2005, according to new data from the Centers for Disease Control.
Among U.S. adults, the rate of smokers fell from 20.9 percent in 2005 to 17.8 percent in 2013, new data published the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report issued Wednesday.
That’s a nearly 15 percent drop in smokers, the lowest it’s ever been since the CDC started keeping records in 1965. The total number of cigarette smokers now stands at 42.1 million, down from 45.1 million in 2005.
Cigarette smoking remains popular among certain groups:
“Though smokers are smoking fewer cigarettes, cutting back by a few cigarettes a day rather than quitting completely does not produce significant health benefits,” said Brian King, a senior scientific adviser with the CDC’s Office on Smoking and Health, in a statement. “Smokers who quit before they’re 40 years old can get back almost all of the 10 years of life expectancy smoking takes away.”
Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of preventable diseases and death in the United States, blamed for more than 480,000 deaths nationwide each year. According to CDC data, for every person who dies this year, there are more than 30 Americans struggling with a smoking-related health issue.
Beyond the human toll, smoking is estimated to cost the nation’s economy more than $289 billion annually, including at least $133 billion in direct medical care for adults and more than $156 billion in lost productivity, according to the CDC.