A Dramatic Decrease in Smoking Rates

2015 has been a year of dire trends for the United States – obesity has been increasing dramatically due to poor diets, police brutality against African Americans has become more evident in news coverage and media, and an astounding amount of young teenagers are becoming more and more addicted to social media outlets like Instagram and Snapchat. But, a certain statistic has health professionals across the country whooping for joy: smoking rates have declined from 20.9% to 17.8% since 2005, and adults between the ages of eighteen and twenty-four have notably illustrated this decrease. This decline over the last ten years is one for the books – a symbol of how many are increasingly becoming aware of the extremely detrimental health effects of smoking, such as lung cancer and anxiety. 

These statistics suggest that the numerous efforts to gain people’s attention on how the effects of one person smoking can be so appallingly harmful to others – through secondhand smoking – and to oneself – for obvious health reasons – have been working. Recent campaigns, such as “The Truth” campaign and “Do Something,” aim to bring awareness to teenagers through numerous posters and commercials. Others are groups, like Smokers Anonymous, that offer assistance to smokers and theirs families.

Another possible cause for the decrease comes from the price of cigarettes and new laws. In some New York areas, the prices of cigarettes reach fourteen dollars, which is much too expensive for smokers. Additionally, it’s common to see the “No Smoking” sign hanging in many public areas, and those who violate these bans face a fifty dollar fine or more.  Additionally, there have also been numerous laws and bans on cigarette vending machines and distribution of free cigarettes. Through these means, it has becoming increasingly difficult for many to smoke freely in public, and financially difficult for them to buy cigarette packs. With these measures and the tireless efforts of many, smoking prevalence has reached an all-time low. It will surely be a long journey to change the 17.8% to 0%, but let’s not stop working on it.