CDC: Smoking rate twice as high among uninsured

CDC: Smoking rate twice as high among uninsured
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Those on Medicaid or uninsured are twice as likely to smoke as those who have health insurance or receive Medicare, a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released Thursday finds.

The 2014 National Health Interview Survey found that 27.9 percent of uninsured adults and 29.1 percent of Medicaid recipients currently smoke compared to 12.9 percent of adults with private insurance and 12.5 percent of those on Medicare.

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Those high rates persist even as the CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report found that the smoking rate among adults overall declined to a new low of 16.8 percent from 2005 to 2014.

The report also found that the average number of cigarettes smoked per day among daily smokers declined from 16.7 in 2005 to 13.8 in 2014 — driven by declines in the proportion of smokers who had 20 or more cigarettes per day.

“Smoking kills half a million Americans each year and costs more than $300 billion,” said CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden said in a statement. “This report shows real progress helping American smokers quit and that more progress is possible.”

Though the numbers slightly dropped in 2014 compared to past studies, CDC said the prevalence of smokers is still higher among males, adults 25 to 44, people with high-school level GED certificates, people living in the Midwest, those below the federal poverty level, people with disabilities and those who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.