US Smoking Rate Falls Below 15 Percent

The number of American adults who light up has fallen to a new low of just 14.9 percent, according to the latest figures from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Just last week, the CDC published 2014 figures showing that last year, 16.8 percent of adults smoked. But the new statistics — which tracked smoking rates to June of this year — show the number has tumbled even further.

Compare that to the nearly 25 percent of U.S. adults who smoked in 1997, and it’s clear real progress has been made, one expert said.

“This is indeed encouraging news that suggests that investment in public health and education initiatives to reduce smoking rates among adults are paying off,” said Dr. Charles Powell. He directs the Mount Sinai–National Jewish Health Respiratory Institute in New York City.

The latest figures were published online Nov. 17 by the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics.

The CDC researchers said that men still smoke more than women, at 17 percent and about 13 percent, respectively. And people under 65 smoke more than seniors, with rates of about 16 percent and 8 percent, respectively.