New study shows smoking rate in U.S. adults has dropped

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NEW YORK — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the smoking rate for U.S. adults dropped to 17 percent in the past year.

Ban on tobacco sales, cigarette taxes and increase on anti-smoking advertising campaigns have contributed to the decline, according to the CDC. Electronic cigarettes have also been a popular alternative to traditional cigarettes. In 2013, the smoking rate was about 18 percent.

The new study comes as CVS/pharmacy marks its one-year anniversary of stopping tobacco product sales in all its stores in an effort to create a tobacco-free generation.

“We know that more than two-thirds of smokers want to quit – and that half of smokers try to quit each year. We also know that cigarette purchases are often spontaneous. And so we reasoned that removing a convenient location to buy cigarettes could decrease overall tobacco use,” Chief Medical Officer Troyen Brennan says in the release.

CVS Health Research Institute reports that cigarette pack sales have decreased by one percent in states where CVS/pharmacy made up 15 percent or more of the retail pharmacy market, according to the company’s press release. The average smoker purchased five packs fewer. About 95 million fewer packs have been sold in the last eight months.

“This new data demonstrates that CVS Health’s decision to stop selling tobacco did indeed have a real public health impact,” Troyen says.

CVS Health says it’s also launching a school-based tobacco-prevention program with its Foundation and Scholastic.

“By partnering with an expert partner in education to launch this new program, we will reach millions of kids across the country with critical tobacco-prevention education,” says CVS Health.