WASHINGTON: Smoking is losing popularity in the US, where health officials on Thursday announced that only 14 percent of the population is smoking now, the lowest level ever recorded in the country.
According to a survey conducted in the US by the American Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 34 million American adults smoke cigarettes.
A 14 percent cigarette smoker fell from 15.5 percent in 2016.
The current interest rate is a 67 percent decline from 1965, the year in which the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) began collecting annual data on smokers, said the CDC report.
"This new, versatile low cigarette smoking among adult Americans is a huge achievement in the field of public health," said Robert Redfield, director of CDC.
The NHIS report also highlights the significant decline in the number of young adult cigarette smokers in 2017 compared with the previous year.
About 10 percent of Americans aged 18-24 smoked in 2017, up from 13 percent in 2016.
Meanwhile, e-cigarettes are being used more and more among young people, and American regulators are considering a ban on the use of nicotine flavored, which is used in devices for producing battery-powered energy.
The CDC claims that every fifth adult in the US (47 million people) still uses some form of tobacco product – including cigarettes, cigars, e-cigarettes, water pipes or smokeless tobacco – a rate that has remained stable in recent years.
Smoking is still the main cause of avoidable deaths and illnesses in the United States, killing around 480,000 Americans every year.
About 16 million Americans suffer from a smoking-related disease.
"For more than half a century, smoking has been the leading cause of cancer death in the United States," said Norman Sharpless, director of the National Cancer Institute.
Eliminating smoking in America would eventually eliminate about one-third of all deaths from cancer.