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More than two-thirds of smokers want to quit, CDC says

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More than two-thirds of smokers say they want to quit and more than half tried in 2010, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Thursday.

Only 6 percent actually stopped, however, and that rate varied widely by education, with college-educated people kicking the habit three times better than those with high school education or less, researchers said. Blacks had the highest desire to quit and the highest attempt rate, but the lowest success for a number of reasons, the researchers said.

In its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, CDC officials reported the results of its National Health Interview Survey of more than 27,000 people last year. Of current smokers, 68.8 percent said they wanted to quit for good and 52.4 percent had tried while 6.2 percent had stopped recently. About a third of those attempting to quit had received counseling or medication or both to help, according to the survey.

Success varied by education level, with 3.2 percent of those without a high school diploma quitting versus 11.4 percent of the college-educated, said Dr. Tim McAfee, the director of the Office on Smoking and Health at the CDC.

Insurance coverage also influenced success, with the uninsured having the lowest rate of 3.6 percent versus 7.8 percent for those with private insurance and 9.3 percent for those with military insurance, McAfee said. There might be a number of factors at play with the uninsured, he said.

“Of course, there is also overlap with having lower educational status and higher poverty rates but they are less likely to see a physician, if they see a physician, they are less likely to be advised (to quit), and they are the lowest group for use of medications or receipt of counseling,” McAfee said.

Paradoxically, black smokers had the highest desire to quit of any group at 75.6 percent, and the highest attempt rate at 59.1 percent, but the lowest success rate at 3.3 percent versus 6 percent for whites, he said. Blacks were less likely to get medication or counseling than whites and are three times as likely to smoke menthol cigarettes, which a Food and Drug Administration committee said is linked to lower smoking cessation rates, McAfee said.

The success in quitting rate is usually not published but will now serve as a benchmark, said Dr. Ann Malarcher, the lead author on the report.

“We really want to look at recent success” she said. “We hope to move the needle and get more people to quit each year over time.”

Many people trying to quit have a hard time affording medications that can help, such as Chantix, which can cost $120 a month, said Cheryl Wheeler, who teaches Freshstart smoking cessation classes and is coordinator for the Cancer Registry at University Hospital. For her, the report is bittersweet news.

“It’s encouraging that they want to quit,” Wheeler said. “It is discouraging that they can’t.”

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stillamazed 11/10/11 - 03:22 pm
So come up with better and

So come up with better and less expensive ways to help smokers quit. It is an addiction just like an addiction to any other drug. Better yet, why not remove tobacco from the market all together? You can't buy other drugs legally so why tobacco products? It isn't the tobacco that is addictive it is all the other chemicals they put in the tobacco, that is probably what is killing people anyway.

Little Lamb
Little Lamb 11/10/11 - 03:32 pm
Sorry, stillamazed, but your

Sorry, stillamazed, but your last sentence is about 99% false. There are hundreds of chemicals in pure dried tobacco leaf. The one that is addictive is nicotine. Interestingly enough, pure nicotine, though addictive, has never been found to be harmful. There are plenty of other harmful chemicals in pure dried tobacco leaf. Some of the tarry chemicals may be the ones that cause lung cancer. Some of the other chemicals may cause the circulatory and heart problems.

True enough, today's packaged cigarettes do have chemical additives thrown in, but they have not been implicated in cancer or heart disease.

If you're really having a tough time kicking cigarettes, try some of the nicotine substitutes such as the e-cigarette while you can, before the city of Augusta bans it.

Taylor B
Taylor B 11/10/11 - 04:38 pm
Still, removing tobacco

Still, removing tobacco doesnt work. Prohibition proves that.

Little Lamb
Little Lamb 11/11/11 - 12:02 pm
stillamazed wrote It isn't

stillamazed wrote

It isn't the tobacco that is addictive it is all the other chemicals they put in the tobacco, that is probably what is killing people anyway.

Sorry, but dried pure tobacco leaf contains hundreds of chemicals. The addictive one is nicotine. However, nicotine is not a cause of lung cancer nor heart disease. Some of the other chemicals in dried pure tobacco leaf (lumped together in a class called "tar") are the ones that cause disease and death. The additives that tobacco companies put into cigarettes have not been shown to cause cancer nor any other problems.

Since nicotine, though addictive, is harmless; it might be a good idea for smokers to switch to the electronic cigarettes. You get pure nicotine without the harmful chemicals.

Craig Spinks
Craig Spinks 11/11/11 - 05:15 pm
Two-thirds of smokers report

Two-thirds of smokers report they want to quit?

Not badly enough to stop smoking.

Vito45 11/11/11 - 06:23 pm
That just speaks to how

That just speaks to how addictive it is. The test would be to completely remove nicotine from tobacco and see how many people still smoke. That is absolutely within the purview of the FDA to do, and I wish they would. It is as addictive as any other controlled substance, **more-so than many, and if they incrementally racheted down the content, those who claim they smoke for pleasure could continue doing so, and those who smoke because they are addicted could get "un-hooked".

** I've read testimonials where former heroin addicts stated that it was easier kicking heroin than cigarettes for them.

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