Fewer U.S. Adult Smoking Cigarettes; Strong Tobacco Control Policies Critical for Continued Decline

November 10, 2016

WASHINGTON, D.C. – November 10, 2016 – Two reports released today by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) illustrate the benefits of strong tobacco control policies in reducing the adult smoking rate and number of tobacco-related cancer deaths in the United States.

First, the National Health Interview Survey finds 36.5 million adults (15.1 percent) in the U.S. smoked cigarettes in 2015, down from 45.1 million adults (20.9 percent) in 2005. The second study, featured in CDC’s Vital Signs monthly report, finds at least 12 cancers are caused by tobacco use resulting in an estimated 660,000 tobacco-related cancer diagnoses and 343,000 deaths each year between 2009-2013.

Following is a statement from Chris Hansen, president of the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN):

“It is encouraging to see continued declines in the number of adult smokers. Such progress is the direct result of comprehensive tobacco prevention and cessation efforts around the country. In 10 years, the adult smoking rate has dropped from nearly 21 percent to just 15 percent. However, the number of tobacco-related cancer deaths shows we cannot grow complacent and more work remains to be done.

“When Congress returns to work next week, it should protect tobacco control efforts and reject a proposed $110 million cut to the CDC’s Office of Smoking and Health (OSH). The cut to OSH would likely end the CDC’s highly effective Tips From Former Smokers media campaign, which has led 5 million smokers to attempt to quit smoking and 400,000 smokers to quit for good.

“Congress should also reject any tobacco-related policy riders that would weaken the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act. Specifically, lawmakers should reject tobacco industry efforts to weaken the Food and Drug Administration’s oversight of cigars and electronic cigarettes, including attempts to create a loophole making it easier for such products to stay on the market before their youth appeal or public health effect is determined.

“Tobacco use remains the leading preventable cause of death in the United States. We urge Congress to protect and improve strong tobacco control policies when they return for the lame-duck session.”

ACS CAN, the nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate of the American Cancer Society, supports evidence-based policy and legislative solutions designed to eliminate cancer as a major health problem. ACS CAN works to encourage elected officials and candidates to make cancer a top national priority. ACS CAN gives ordinary people extraordinary power to fight cancer with the training and tools they need to make their voices heard. For more information, visit


Jill Courtney or Alissa Crispino
American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network
Phone: (202) 585-3278 or (202) 661-5772
Email: [email protected] or [email protected]

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