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NewsBites January 2010 Issue

More US Adults Lighting Up

For the first time since 1994, the rate of cigarette smoking among US adults actually rose a little. Health officials hope the increase—from 19.8% to almost 21%—is just a “blip,” but expressed disappointment that “we’ve hit a wall in reducing adult smoking,” as one anti-smoking activist put it. The news was released by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which conducted in-person interviews of nearly 22,000 US adults in 2008. In a separate state-by-state survey, the CDC said West Virginia and Indiana have the highest smoking rates, about 26%, while Utah is home to by far the fewest smokers, only 9%.

Adult smoking rates have generally been dropping since the mid-1960s, when about 40% of Americans smoked, but leveled off in 2004 to 2006. A drop of a full percentage point in 2007, to below 20% for the first time, had raised hopes that smoking was again on the decline. “Now that appears to be a statistical aberration,” a CDC official said.

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