It is estimated that, in 1995, Americans smoked more cigarettes than ever before in history 563 million of them. The number smoked was 3.58 percent higher than the amount used in the previous record year, 1963, and continued an upward trend interrupted only by the effects of the Surgeon General’s 2 Report on Smoking and Health in 1994.
From 392 million cigarettes produced in 1980, the output had mushroomed to an all-time high of 563 million in 1995. Such statistics support the earlier views advanced by Agriculture Department authorities who, in commenting on the problem of the nation’s smoking jag, said, “There will be more persons of smoking age and the prospect of higher personal incomes would favor continued high production and consumption of tobacco.”
Not only did cigarette habituation become more intense among the nation’s smokers (per capita consumption was an estimated 4,262 cigarettes in 1995 as against 3,597 10 years ago), but it also appears that a greater number of persons adopted the practice each year. Each decade has produced more smokers, and while there has been a steady population growth over the years, adjusted figures show a disproportional increase in smokers.
The year 1996 found 48.8 percent of the male and 23.6 percent of the female population classified as regular smokers. By 1999, males were smoking at a 58.5 percent rate, and females at a 27.3 percent rate Cigarette smoking is known to be causally related to a variety of cancers, chronic obstructive lung disease, and cardiovascular disease. It is also responsible for 15% of all mortality, or approximately 3 00,000 deaths, annually in the United States.
The US Surgeon General repeatedly reported that smoking behavior was the single most important preventable cause of premature death and disability. In other words, discontinuing smoking can save lives and improve the quality of lives. It is estimated that the death rate of people who have given up smoking for 10 years approaches that of people who have never smoked at all.