Smoking hits new low
Fewer Americans are lighting up than ever before. About 14 percent of U.S. adults said they were smokers last year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That’s still a sizable number—about 30 million people—but it’s down from 16 percent in 2016 and roughly 20 percent in 2006. “More people are quitting, and those who continue to smoke are smoking less,” says Corinne Graffunder, director of the CDC’s Office on Smoking and Health—a decline the agency attributes to growing awareness of the health dangers of tobacco products. Smoking is also dropping among children and teenagers, reports Time.com. Just 8 percent of high school students and some 2 percent of middle school students said they used cigarettes in 2017, down from roughly 16 percent and 4 percent, respectively, in 2011. But as cigarettes fall out of favor, the popularity of e-cigarettes is rising, especially among young people. Some 11 percent of high schoolers vaped in 2016, compared with about 3 percent of adults. Health officials warn that these battery-powered devices still expose users to nicotine and other potentially harmful chemicals and may prompt kids to try other tobacco products.