Cigarette use among US adults hits record low while vaping rates rise: CDC

Cigarette smoking rates among U.S. adults have dropped to an all-time low, according to a report released this week from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The CDC said 13.7 percent of U.S. adults smoked cigarettes in 2018,  representing a decline of about two-thirds since the first Surgeon General’s report warning of the dangers of the habit was released more than 50 years ago.

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The same was not true for e-cigarette rates, which increased from about 2.8 percent to 3.2 percent last year. Though the increase may seem insignificant, it represents a “reversal from the decline observed among adults during 2014-2017,” the report reads. 

Young adults – specifically those aged 18 to 24 – were largely responsible for the vaping increase in 2018. Rates among young adults rose from 5.2 percent in 2017 to 7.6 percent in 2018.

The increase among young adults comes as the CDC this week announced that at least 42 people have died as a result of vaping-related illness. Health officials also upped the number of confirmed and probable lung injury cases to 2,172. As of Nov. 13, fatalities have occurred across 24 states, with every state except for Alaska reporting illnesses in their residents.

Cigarette smoking rates among US adults have dropped to an all-time low, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Cigarette smoking rates among US adults have dropped to an all-time low, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). (iStock)

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The health agency has named vitamin E acetate, which is found in THC-containing vape products, as the possible culprit in the outbreak. The CDC said earlier this week the chemical compound, which is typically used as a nutritional supplement, was found in lung fluid from 29 patients tested in a government lab.

CDC Director Robert R. Redfield called the “marked decline” in cigarette smoking among U.S. adults an “achievement of a consistent and coordinated effort by the public health community and our many partners.”

"Yet, our work is far from over," he noted. "The health benefits of quitting smoking are significant, and we are committed to educating Americans about the steps they can take to become tobacco-free."

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“The sustained drop in adult smoking is encouraging as we work to reduce tobacco-related disease and death in the U.S. through science-driven policy, compliance and enforcement in addition to public education,” added Admiral Brett Giroir, assistant secretary of health and acting FDA commissioner.

“We remain dedicated to keeping pace with the evolving tobacco product landscape to ensure strong regulatory oversight in light of the increases in youth use of e-cigarette products in the U.S,” he continued.

Fox News' Alexandria Hein contributed to this report.