Smoking down in U.S.; Augusta restrictions on hold

Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2011 4:10 PM
Last updated 6:30 PM
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The decline in smoking among American adults has slowed but the rate is still going down, in part due to smoking bans, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Tuesday. But in Augusta, a push by health advocates to toughen the city’s smoking ordinance is on hold, an official said.

The percentage of adults who smoke declined from 20.9 percent in 2005 to 19.3 percent in 2010, according to the CDC’s monthly Vital Signs report. While CDC Director Thomas Frieden called it a “virtual stall in the decline in smoking,” the director of the CDC Office on Smoking and Health, Dr. Tim McAfee, said, “It is slowing down the rate of decline but we are still moving in the right direction.”

Current smokers are also smoking less -- those who consume nine or fewer a day increased from 16.4 percent in 2005 to 21.8 percent in 2010 while those who smoke 30 or more daily declined from 12.7 percent to 8.3 percent, the report noted. But those who are smoking less for some perceived health benefit are still doing themselves a disservice, McAfee said.

“Far and away, the best thing that people can do is to quit, for which they will get very clear -- some of them almost immediate -- benefits,” he said.

There are still great disparities in smoking rates because of income and education, McAfee said. Only 6.3 percent of those with a postgraduate degree smoked compared to 45 percent of those with a General Educational Development diploma, or GED, he said.

While higher tobacco taxes have helped, their impact is likely blunted by nearly $10 billion a year in promotions and advertisement by tobacco companies, about 72 percent of which goes to discounts and coupons for smokers to offset the higher prices, McAfee said. The companies might have also altered their products to make more nicotine available faster, Frieden said.

“It is possible that cigarettes today may be somewhat even more addictive than they were 10 or 20 years ago,” he said.

Societal efforts aimed at curbing smoking have helped, McAfee said.

“We’ve seen a de-normalization of smoking, we’ve seen the increase in clean indoor air laws that have happened so aggressively in the last 10 years,” he said. “It’s a little harder for people to smoke but also people feel like they want to cut down.”

Advocates are pushing to tighten Augusta’s smoking ban, which right now allows exemptions for bars and restaurants that do not allow anyone under age 18. They approached the Augusta Commission about enacting a tougher ordinance but are still waiting for public hearings to be set, said East Central Health District Director Ketty Gonzalez.

With all that the commission is dealing with right now, she said, “this has been put to the side,” Augusta General Counsel Andrew MacKenzie has sent out a draft of the proposed ordinance to various officials, but it is unclear if it is back on any committee agenda, said Harry Revell, attorney for the Richmond County Board of Health.

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Vito45
-2
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Vito45 09/06/11 - 04:47 pm
0
0
Look at the stats.

Look at the stats. Smart/educated people don't smoke by and large. I hope some of you who do smoke realize the sterotypical image people associate you with when you have a cigarette hanging from your lips.

Vito45
-2
Points
Vito45 09/06/11 - 06:06 pm
0
0
Carpe Noctem Tuesday, Sep. 6

Carpe Noctem
Tuesday, Sep. 6 6:02 PM
FROM:
Smoking down in U.S.; Augusta restrictions on hold

Vito,

What do you care? For someone who fancies himself a "conservative, freedom loving" American you're sounding pretty hypocritical.

Hypocritical how? I challenge you to find an opiinion of mine anywhere that says I want to prevent people from smoking. I want to let Darwin's theory run its course; I'm just surprised at how many so called smart/educated people fall into the same class as ignorant and/or uneducated people when it comes to nicotine addiction. Hopefully, if some see they way the rest of the world associates them, it will be impetus to quit. I want all of my firends and loved ones to live a long and healthy life. Call me selfish in that respect, but not hypocritical.

socks99
250
Points
socks99 09/07/11 - 03:26 pm
0
0
Corwin's write-up could use a

Corwin's write-up could use a little more 'in-depth' reporting. First, while 'local health advocates' have come out in support of the ban, they did not initiate the proposal. In fact, an unknown group is pushing for the ban; they have already 'succeeded' in Savannah, and they are testing Dekalb, now.

It's important for local citizens to realize that outsiders are attempting to use the local legislative process in order to further criminalize smoking. This is not unlike the Prohibition against alcohol, and would certainly bring with it all the negatives of that experiment.

Chronic smoking is bad for people and even the smokers know that. But elected people ought to think about the fact that we CANNOT criminalize all the behaviors we feel are harmful and if we go down that road we create more problems than we solve. For the non-smokers, you need to tolerate the smokers. That's not too much to ask and it will go a long way towards civility and bolstering a 'live and let live' sense of community. The alternative is a top-down totalitarian state. Granted, there are zealots out there who will always holler for their pet law; hopefully there are enough tolerant, freedom-loving folks out there to stop them.

Tom Corwin
10723
Points
Tom Corwin 09/07/11 - 04:16 pm
0
0
Socks99, It is not an unknown

Socks99,

It is not an unknown group - it is the Richmond County Board of Health that approached the Augusta Commission about doing this. They are part of the East Central Health District, whose director is quoted in this story. They are being assisted by the Breathe Easy Coalition, which includes the American Cancer Society. They have been upfront about targeting Savannah, Macon and Augusta for tougher ordinances. I have reported all of this in previous stories. Let me know if there is anything else you would like to know and I would be glad to check it out.

socks99
250
Points
socks99 09/07/11 - 05:09 pm
0
0
Tom, thanks for the further

Tom, thanks for the further information. I'd definitely be interested in viewing financial records associated with the groups. I stand by my contention that this is not a local initiative, but an organized effort from outside. I think that's an important point.

CabisKhan
164
Points
CabisKhan 09/08/11 - 07:54 am
0
0
Google FSC cigarette and get

Google FSC cigarette and get the info on the new government cigarettes. There IS more nicotine in the new federally mandated cigarette of which ther is no escape from because of the new ban on importation of safer cigarettes. Also more smoke,an increase in dangerous fire hazards and a far less healthy cigarette. Government needs to get out of my everyday life.

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