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Press Release

Embargoed until Noon ET on November 10, 2005 Contact: CDC National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion

Lower Adult Smoking Rates with More Adults Quitting
Levels Still Below Nation's Goal for 2010

The percentage of U.S. adults who smoke cigarettes continues to decline and more adults have successfully quit smoking than remain current smokers. The study estimates that 20.9 percent — 44.5 million people — are current smokers, down from 21.6 percent in 2003 and 22.5 percent in 2002, according to an article in this week’s issue of CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR).

“We are encouraged by the continued decline in cigarette smoking among U.S. adults and want to congratulate those who have successfully quit,” said CDC Director Dr. Julie Gerberding. “Quitting smoking is the most important step smokers can take to improve their overall health and reduce their risk of disease. For smokers who want to quit, resources are available to help, including calling the national network of quitlines at 1-800-QUIT-NOW or going to”

The report also indicates that the prevalence of heavy smoking (25 or more cigarettes per day) has declined over the past decade, from 19.1 percent of smokers in 1993 to 12.1 percent of smokers in 2004.

In another study in this week’s MMWR, the 2004 Behavior Risk Factor Surveillance System reports that 50 percent or more of smokers had quit in 36 states/areas. In the majority of states, most adults have never been smokers and among those who have ever smoked, the majority have quit. In four states, Connecticut, California, Vermont, and Utah, 60 percent or more of smokers have quit smoking.

This year marks the 29th American Cancer Society Great American Smokeout. In celebrating this year’s Great American Smokeout, on November 17, 2005, CDC will formally implement its tobacco-free campus policy. The policy bans the use of all tobacco products at CDC owned facilities and grounds, and in government vehicles.

“The tobacco-free initiative fits with one of CDC’s public health goals, to achieve healthy workplaces by promoting and protecting the health and safety of people who work by preventing workplace-related fatalities, illnesses, injuries, and personal health risks. This includes preventing exposure to tobacco and promoting physical education programs,” said Gerberding.

For copies of the full MMWR articles, visit For more information on the Great American Smokeout, visit the American Cancer Society

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