Up In Smoke

July 13, 2016
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But even as those in the middle class have given up the habit, smoking has remained a serious problem among low-income Americans, who are about twice as likely to smoke as middle- and upper-income adults. Smoking rates for those with a GED certification are 43 percent, compared to five percent of those with a graduate degree.

Public health efforts focus on the twin goals of preventing Americans, particularly youth, from smoking in the first place and the more difficult task of helping those already addicted to quit. But key public policies to prevent smoking, through cigarette taxes and laws that limit smoking in offices and public restaurants, have stalled. The CDC researchers found that states the extent to which states are raising cigarette taxes or creating smoke-free areas is not continuing to climb in recent years. Thus, progress in those areas – which are known to be effective – has stalled.

These gaps will not only result in greater health problems down the road but will also cost the nation many billions of dollars because of resulting medical bills and lost productivity.

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