Many Americans have quit smoking in the past few years. A poll on US News revealed that only 16% of American adults smoked in 2021, almost reaching the record low statistics of 15% of active tobacco smokers in 2019. Though this percentage is still quite high, the study previously noted that this is a big decline compared to the highest rate of 45% back in 1954.
The declining rate of smokers is significant, especially since cigarette smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States. Given that cigarettes are detrimental to public health, it’s critical to take a look at the smoking behaviors of Americans in the past few years.
The Smoking Habits of American Adults
The CDC reports that American adults have actually decreased their usage of all tobacco products, and this includes the use of vapes.
The CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report highlights that the usage of tobacco products and vapes has dropped from 20.8% in 2019 to 19% in 2020. However, the report also notes that there are huge disparities among major demographic groups. To illustrate, 34.9% of Non-Hispanic American Indian/Alaska Native adults used tobacco products in 2020. Likewise, a quarter of adults with an annual household income below $35,000, as well as a quarter of people from the LGBT community, also still use tobacco products.
As such, the director of CDC’s National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion recognizes that the work is still far from over, when it comes to preventing and reducing tobacco product use in the country.
Understanding the Shift in Tobacco Usage
The huge drop in the number of active smokers can be attributed to many factors. Though more Americans have been drinking in the past few years, experts noted that the rate of American smokers has gradually dropped for many decades due to taxes and smoking bans. However, price hikes are one of the most recent factors that shifted the habits of smokers. Cigarette manufacturer British American Tobacco has increased the prices for Camel and Lucky Strike by more than four times in 2020 alone. As a result, these popular cigarette brands now cost active smokers 50 cents more for every pack purchased.
Aside from the significant price hikes, more people have changed their smoking habits due to the availability of cessation products across the country. Consumers can simply buy popular nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) products over the counter. These products were made accessible to Americans because they are proven to be effective in stopping people’s smoking habits. One of the most popular NRT products has been the nicotine pouch. As shown by the nicotine pouches available to buy online at Prilla, they are tobacco-free products that don’t produce any smoke or odor, and don’t require any spitting. This means users can use nicotine pouches in most places where traditional tobacco products are banned. Another popular alternative is the nicotine patch which can be worn all day compared to the short lifespan of the pouch. These are the most discreet of the NRTs as they can be worn under clothing for a slow release. Since these products can be easily bought online or in-store, more people have switched from cigarettes to other products for their nicotine fix.
These nicotine replacement therapy products come in handy, especially now that various states plan to ban single-use cigarettes. California’s lawmakers introduced a bill that prohibits the sale of single-use tobacco products back in 2022 to reduce the amount of cigarette litter within the state. Legislators explained that these cigarette litters cost the local government about $41 million annually just for clean-up, which is why they are pushing for a ban that can protect the local citizens and the environment. California is not the only state making the same move because Hawaii and Illinois lawmakers have also pushed for bills that ban single-use cigarette filters.
The changes in the US market and local legislation have led to the decline of smokers within the country. As such, companies and legislators can continue to work hand-in-hand to improve the locals’ state of health.