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Tobacco Use in the USA: Lowest Level in Decades

According to a report released on March 19, 2022, by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the U.S. has been experiencing a reduction in tobacco product use for many years. According to the report, the year 2020 had the lowest levels of tobacco use after comparing statistics over some time. The tobacco products that were found to have a decrease in use are e-cigarettes and cigarettes, especially among adults above 18 years in the U.S.A.

Of course, this is a very impressive trend if it can be maintained. This is because, from the statistics and research findings, tobacco use has been linked with many health problems in the U.S. and many parts of the world. The user has caused the health sector a heavy burden in trying to deal with tobacco-related illnesses that have seemed hard to treat though they would have been prevented.

This article analyses the finding of the report to help you understand what is contained in it. It summarizes the statistics of the findings, health issues associated with tobacco use, and explains the possible cause for the decline in tobacco use in the U.S. in 2020 as per the report. Continue reading to get more about the findings.

Analyzing the Decline in Tobacco Use in the U.S.

Tobacco use in the U.S. was lastly at its peak in the mid- 1960s. Though tobacco use has been showing a declining trend since then, the levels were lowest in 2020. The data indicates that tobacco use nationally among adults has reduced to 19% from 21% between 2019 and 2020. In 1965, adults who were smokers in the U.S. comprised 42% but this has been decreasing with time.

Though it has taken a long time from the year the 1960s to 2020 for the adult population who are tobacco users to decrease from 42% to 19 %, it still gives hope because there is a change in the desirable direction. If this decrease in tobacco uses among the population of the U.S., then it can give the nation an easy task to fight diseases that are associated with tobacco use.

The report by the agency continues to indicate that in the same period, cigarette smokers who are adults declined from 14% to 12.5%.
According to the report, there is also a drop from 4.5% to 3.7% of adults who use vaping or e-cigarette devices across the country.

Though many people have taken this report about the decline in tobacco use in the U.S.A positively, there are still mixed reactions on what might have caused the decline. Some argue that the decrease observed was externally triggered other than being internally triggered.

The year 2020 was the first after the break of the Covid-19 Pandemic. Most people, therefore, tend to argue that the decline was not a result of the willingness of the smokers to quit smoking but conditions of the pandemic forced them. Thus, externally triggered instead of being internally triggered.

It is therefore argued that the decrease was caused by the lockdowns imposed and the harsh economic conditions during the COVID-19 pandemic most smokers were left without an option other than staying without smoking. People were forced to stay at home with their families and this led to most of them not smoking. For instance, according to statistics, college students comprise a good percentage of smokers; most of whom didn’t want to smoke when with their parents.

Tobacco users were also said to be at high risk in case they contacted the COVID-19 virus. Fearing for their life, many current smokers may have decided to stop smoking to save their life. This might be among the reasons that led to the lowest levels of tobacco use. But who knows if they will go back to smoking after the pandemic!

Causes for the Reduction in the Percentage of Adult Cigarette Use

Though the report by CDC indicates a declining trend in the use of cigarettes among adults in the U.S., the overall tobacco use is still high. This, therefore, means that there is still a lot of work that needs to be done to help solve tobacco health-related problems.

As per the CDC report, below are the measures that have been attributed to the reduction in cigarette use in the U.S.:

I. Implementation of smoke-free policies.
II. Increase in the price of tobacco products.
III. Anti Tobacco campaigns.
IV. Reduction of tobacco promotion and advertising directed to children.

As a way to reduce the observed differences in tobacco product use according to the report, the following measures have been suggested:

I. Continued monitoring the use of tobacco.
II. Tailor policies and strategies to reach groups that use tobacco at high rates.

Health Effects of Tobacco Product Usage

Tobacco is seriously harmful because it does not only harm the direct user but also the indirect user as well. Research has shown that many people who are nonsmokers have died from tobacco-related health problems. The deaths of nonsmokers have been attributed to indirect inhaling the product as a result of living with direct smokers.

In 1964 alone, research shows that 2.5 million people died from indirect smoke from tobacco products. Inhaling indirect smoke from tobacco products causes lung cancer, heart disease, and stroke among adults. Children are also not spared from the health effects of indirect smoking. It causes the following health problems among children and infants:

I. Severe asthma attacks
II. Ear infections
III. Sudden death
IV. Respiratory infections


All the concerned stakeholders in the U.S. need to work together to see that the decreasing trend in tobacco use is maintained. This can be achieved by imposing the necessary strategies and policies. Some of these include increasing the price of tobacco products, enforcing free smoking policies, and reducing the adverts and promotions on tobacco use especially those directed to children.


The content on this page is for informational and educational purposes only and does not constitute professional medical advice. Patients should not use the information presented on this page for diagnosing a health-related issue or disease. Before taking any medication or supplements, patients should always consult a physician or qualified healthcare professional for medical advice or information about whether a drug is safe, appropriate or effective.