Have Americans finally quit smoking cigarettes?

A new CDC study shows that overall smoking rates in the US have declined drastically over the last decade, but certain segments of the population are having trouble giving up the butts.

Cigarette use is declining rapidly in the United States, according to new data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention this week. According to a report from the LA Times, the level of American adult smokers dropped to just 17 percent in 2014, a 20 percent reduction from 2005 levels.

The recent figure is the lowest on record since the CDC began tracking tobacco use in the United States. Smokers appear to be smoking less as well; the average daily count for a regular smoker has dropped to 13.8 cigarettes from a 2005 level of 16.7.

The anti smoking movement has come a long way over the past fifty years. In 1965, the CDC reports that 42.4 percent of American adults smoked tobacco. Following a brief debate about the health of smoking cigarettes, use steadily declined over the coming decades. Despite the steady drop, the remaining smokers are proving to be the most difficult to help quit.

Poor Americans have a much harder time quitting cigarettes. About 13 percent of people who have private health insurance smoke, while 29 percent of people on Medicaid are smokers. People who smoke account for 27.9 percent of the uninsured population in the country.

Roughly 26.3 percent of adults living under the federal poverty line, bringing in $19,790 annually for a family of three, were smokers in 2014. Education also played a factor in the data – 43 percent of people with a general education development certificate, or GED, were smokers.

The CDC report follows a new policy proposal from the Department of Housing and Urban Development that would ban smoking inside of public housing buildings nationwide. Health officials believe that this rule could prevent up to 760,000 children from being exposed to secondhand smoke.

Quitting smoking is not easy. Medicaid programs in each of the 50 states offer at least some access to quitting treatments, but only nine states offer individual and group counseling, as well as access to the medications approved by the FDA.

A press release from the CDC outlining the most recent smoking numbers in the country can be found here.

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