Speed Reads

it wasn't all bad!

U.S. adult smoking rate hits all-time low

Adult cigarette smoking in the U.S. dropped to an all-time low last year, according to new data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Based on health surveys from over 27,000 people, only 11 percent of adults reported smoking in 2022, a decrease from 12.5 percent in 2021, reports The Associated Press.

Cigarette smoking has been on the decline since the 1960s, when 42 percent of adults were active smokers, AP notes. Over time, the habit became less socially acceptable as rules like indoor smoking bans meanwhile drove down usage. Smoking has also been proven to cause a number of health problems, including heart disease, lung cancer, COPD, emphysema, asthma, and even death. 

But the decline isn't all good — while traditional smoking is on its way out, electronic cigarette usage is actually on the rise, with 6 percent of adults claiming to have participated in the habit in 2022; that's compared to 4.5 percent of adults in 2021. The trend is more concerning for teens, 14 percent of which reported e-cigarette usage in 2022, per other CDC data.

E-cigarette usage can have dire health consequences, as well. The devices themselves often contain dangerous chemicals like formaldehyde, which can damage the heart and lungs and lead to similar problems as those caused by traditional cigarettes, according to the American Lung Association

"I think that smoking will continue to ebb downwards, but whether the prevalence of nicotine addiction will drop, given the rise of electronic products, is not clear," Dr. Jonathan Samet, dean of the Colorado School of Public Health, told AP.