A new study tested smoking rates in the United States and California separately to analyze smoking intensity patterns and found that both smoking and lung cancer rates have decreased! California was tested separately because it has been the country’s leader in reducing cigarette smoking since the warning on smoking was given by the surgeon general in 1964.
The results showed that in 1965, 23.2 percent of adults in California and 22.9 percent of adults in the United States (excluding California) were heavy smokers. These rates decreased dramatically by 2007 as only 2.6 percent of adults in California and 7.2 percent of adults in the rest of the United States were said to be heavy smokers. This decline was also mirrored to a smaller extent in moderate smokers, showing Californians in 1965 to have a moderate smoking rate of 11.1 percent, while the remaining states had a 10.5 percent rate. By 2007 these rates dropped to 3.4 percent and 5.4 percent, respectively.
John P. Pierce, PhD, of the University of California, San Diego, commented on this decrease, saying, “This decline in high-intensity smoking was not accompanied by a compensatory increase in the prevalence of less-intense smoking.” This means that people are smoking smaller doses AND less often.
These results have been correlated to the decrease in lung cancer. California’s lung cancer rate was at its peak in 1987 at 109 deaths per 100,000 and dropped in 2007 to 77 per 100,000. The rest of the United States’ had its lung cancer death rate in 1993 with 117 deaths per 100,000 and declining in 2007 to 102 per 100,000.
This study shows just how important efforts, like those of SmokeFree Wisconsin and its partners, are to the health of our state. We must continue to work hard in Wisconsin to reduce tobacco use. Currently, 7,000 Wisconsin adults still die from their own smoking and 6,900 Wisconsin kids become new smokers each year. The burden of tobacco is one we all share, whether we use it or not. Tobacco costs Wisconsin $2.8 billion in health care costs every year, according to Burden of Tobacco in Wisconsin 2010, and for every cigarette pack sold, the expense to Wisconsin taxpayers is $9.53 in health care costs and lost productivity. We must continue working to bring down these costs, saving Wisconsin dollars and lives.To do that, we must continue funding for the state's Tobacco Prevention and Control Program as our work is far from finished.
If you are a smoker who would like to quit, please call 1-800-QUIT-NOW.
To learn more about this study, see the summary on WebMN here.