Due to widespread adoption of population-based interventions to reduce tobacco use and prevent people from beginning to smoke, the prevalence of smoking among adults in the United States is at its lowest level since 1965, according to a report published by the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The rate of cigarette smoking in adults dropped from 20.9% in 2005 to 17.8% in 2013.
Population-based interventions attributed to helping reduce smoking prevalence include increasing the price of tobacco products, implementing comprehensive smoke-free laws in worksites and public places, media campaigns such as the CDC’s “Tips from Former Smokers,” and providing easier access to smoking cessation treatments such as behavioral counseling and FDA-approved medications, said Brian King, PhD, who is scientific advisor to the office on smoking and health at the CDC.
Despite such progress, more work needs to be done, particularly among certain populations in which smoking rates remain high. This group includes people who live below the poverty level, those with less education, multiracial or American Indian/Alaska Native populations, and those who are lesbian, gay, or bisexual.
“The good news is that the majority of tobacco users say they want to quit, and nearly half try to quit each year,” said Dr. King. “However, only 4% to 7% of smokers are successful in quitting each year.”
How can otolaryngologists help? “Brief advice from a healthcare provider can significantly increase the chances that a patient will try to quit and does so successfully,” Dr. King said, adding that access to and use of FDA-approved smoking cessation medications can further increase the likelihood of success.