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Prevalence of heavy smokers in US decreases
Date:3/15/2011

CHICAGO From 1965 to 2007, the population prevalence of persons who smoked 20 or more cigarettes per day declined significantly, and there was also a decrease in the prevalence of smoking 10 or more cigarettes a day, with these declines greater in California than in the rest of the U.S., according to a study in the March 16 issue of JAMA.

Throughout much of the early history of cigarette smoking in the United States, consumption was typically 1 pack (about 20 cigarettes) each day. Since the first surgeon general's report on smoking and health (1964), there has been a major decline in smoking prevalence. During this period, California has consistently led the United States in using public policies to reduce cigarette smoking, and there were faster declines in smoking prevalence in California compared with the remaining United States, as well as in lung cancer rates, according to background information in the article. "The intensity of smoking [such as number of cigarettes smoked per day], not just prevalence, is associated with future health consequences," the authors write.

John P. Pierce, Ph.D., of the University of California San Diego, La Jolla, and colleagues examined trends in smoking intensity for both California and the remaining United States using two large population-based surveys with state estimates: National Health Interview Surveys, 1965-1994; and Current Population Survey Tobacco Supplements, 1992-2007. There were 139,176 total respondents for California and 1,662,353 for the remaining United States.

The researchers found that in 1965, the prevalence of high intensity (20 or more cigarettes per day) of smoking among California adults did not differ from the remaining United States; prevalence of high-intensity smoking in California was 23.2 percent compared with 22.9 percent in the remaining United States, and these smokers represented 56 percent of all smokers. By 2007, this prevalence was 2.6 percent or 23 pe
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Contact: Kim Edwards
kedwards@ucsd.edu
619-543-2707
JAMA and Archives Journals
Source:Eurekalert

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