Largest decline of U.S. smokers in more than 20 years
KALAMAZOO, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - More Americans are kicking their smoking habit than ever before.
The rate of smoking among adults in the U.S. fell to 15 percent last year, thanks to the biggest one-year decline in more than 20 years.
The smoking rate has been falling for decades, but it usually drops only 1 point or less in a year.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the rate fell 2 percentage points from between 2014 and 2015.
Heath officials say smoking is the nation's leading cause of preventable illness, but the rate of adults who smoke has dropped considerably.
50 years ago, about 42 percent of U.S. adults smoked.
Experts attribute recent declines to the impact of anti-smoking campaigns, cigarette taxes and smoking bans.
However, another recent CDC survey shows a boom in e-cigarette use among teenagers and health officials fear many of those kids will get hooked on nicotine and later become smokers.
Health officials say the recent FDA ruling that bans minors from buying e-cigarettes will hopefully prevent teens from getting their hands on nicotine all together, and keep the number of smokers dropping for years to come.