Cigarette smoking could disappear from US by 2050: report

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Cigarette use may fall to zero in the U.S. and parts of Europe, Australia and Latin America by 2050 if the declining trend of the previous decades continues as smokers are quitting or opting for alternative products, Bloomberg reported, citing a note published by Adam Spielman, an analyst at Citigroup, Inc.

Big Tobacco has recently seen some of the largest changes in its history, according to Bloomberg. The number of children currently smoking has fallen by nearly 75 percent in the last 20 years, tobacco use among men is decreasing for the first time on record, and cigarette volumes have been diminishing in a straight line for decades, Bloomberg reported.

These changes in the industry, coupled with the results of the report, illustrate how consequential it is for Big Tobacco companies to invest in competitive cigarette alternatives, according to Bloomberg.

Some companies have begun to incorporate smoking alternatives into their portfolios. Philip Morris International Inc., the maker of Marlboro and Chesterfield cigarettes, now sells its IQOS heated tobacco device. Almost 25 percent of the company’s revenue comes from noncombustible products, according to Bloomberg.

Next-generation products, according to Spielman, have slowed the decline of nicotine use in several markets and have possibly reversed it in some.

Not all countries, however, are turning to smoking alternatives. According to Bloomberg, in countries such as China, France and Russia, cigarette smoking will presumably still be common in 2050.

Spielman echoed this sentiment, saying, “The current trends do not suggest a world without cigarettes.”

Cigarette smoking is the No. 1 risk factor for lung cancer, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). On March 9, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force said smokers should start getting screened for lung cancer at age 50, which is an expansion of the existing recommendations.

The new recommendation, according to the task force, will nearly double the number of people eligible for the yearly CT scans that aim to detect lung cancer early.

In 2019, the CDC reported that nearly 14 of every 100 U.S. adults ages 18 and older currently smoked cigarettes, which accounted for an estimated 34.1 million adults. The agency noted that current smokers were defined as people who reported smoking at least 100 cigarettes during their lifetime and who at the time of the survey said they smoked every day or some days.

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