General Question

lonesome-dog's avatar

We've always known that smoking is terrible for our health, yet until quite recently at least 35% of American adults smoked. What turned that figure to approximately 15% (CDC figures for 2015) and in some communities, down to 10%?

Asked by lonesome-dog (253points) January 18th, 2021

In the past cigarettes’ were known as ‘cancer sticks’ and there wasn’t a comic alive who didn’t point out (for laughs) the dangers of tobacco use. “Anyone can quit smoking, it takes a man to face lung cancer” is just one joke I remember. No one can reasonably argue that once the tobacco companies admitted that tobacco was dangerous everything changed. But what factors knocked use down to 15%?

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10 Answers

stanleybmanly's avatar

Ten bucks a pack along with relegation of smokers to the status of lepers.

chyna's avatar

I have no proof and nothing to site, but if those figures are correct, my guess would be the price of cigarettes now. Back when I smoked, over 30 years ago, the price was about 75 cents a pack. They are about 8 dollars a pack now.

stanleybmanly's avatar

The attack on cigarettes was exceptional in that it was a successful project of the left allied with (of all things) the insurance industry.

cookieman's avatar

I agree that it was a combination of prohibitive price hikes (and taxes), more and more restrictive laws on where you can smoke, and the general agreement by most people that smoking is nasty – and the subsequent dirty looks that go along with that.

They became smokey-non-grata at work, in public, in people’s homes.

Having grown up with a 2–3 pack a day mother, I am not at all disappointed in this outcome.

kritiper's avatar

Probably vaping, which some may not consider as smoking.

cookieman's avatar

I think Vaping came about as a not-so-sneaky alternative to smoking, to try and fill that oh-so-valuable demographic of impressionable young people.

zenvelo's avatar

The “35%” number is pretty old, like back in the 1900s when Carter was President. It hasn’t been that high in this century.

Most kids born after 1970 learned not to smoke, especially as their parents stopped smoking. By the early 1990s smoking was becoming difficult; in California it was illegal to smoke in an office or a bar or a restaurant by 1995.

I quit smoking in 1988.

Lightlyseared's avatar

It stopped being cool. So young people didnt start smoking and smokers started to quit. Or die.

From smoking.

lonesome-dog's avatar

For some reason I forgot to mention price, it’s staggering at $10 a pack, and almost weep inducing when, in a supermarket line, you watch some old ager pick up lottery tickets and smokes, along with macaroni and cheese.

And also the Pariah effect. I quit in 1986 because most of society was done with it, and I was getting sick. It was really common in ‘86, but I don’t recall when I first noticed fewer and fewer people smoking.

As for vaping, just how widespread that is I don’t know. It might be a good bit more complicated to use so less common.

zenvelo's avatar

Vaping is passe, it is too hard for kids to get the vape equipment. And anyone over the age of 20 that vapes just looks stupid.

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