Fewer American adults are smoking cigarettes and daily users are now smoking less each day, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
While any reduction in cigarette use is positive, the agency reports tobacco use is still a significant health burden in the U.S. and points at state tobacco control programs - including cigarette taxes - as a successful way of helping people kick the harmful habit.
States with the strongest tobacco control programs have the greatest success at reducing smoking, said CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden.
The report, which covers data from 2005 to 2010, shows that about 45.3 million adults - translating to 19.3 percent - aged 18 or older continue to smoke, a slight decline from 20.9 percent in 2005. Moreover, the percentage of heavy smokers who light up 30 or more cigarettes per day fell from 12.7 percent to 8.3 percent during the same period.
Still, it isn't all good news. The number of daily smokers who consume nine or less cigarettes a day increased from 16.4 percent in 2005 to 21.8 percent in 2010, indicating there are still plenty of people who may be reducing, but not completely ditching the habit.
Plus, the CDC reports the rate of decline is the slower than what has been noted over the previous 40 years.
Taxation may be the key to dissuading people from picking up a cigarette habit. According to the Campaign for Tobacco-free Kids, for every 10 percent increase in cigarette prices, smoking among young adults declines seven percent, while smoking among the general population also falls four percent.
States with the strongest tobacco control programs have the greatest success at reducing smoking and tobacco use, especially among kids, the organization told CBS News.
The Wisconsin Quit Line, which aims to help people quit smoking, received a record-breaking 20,000 calls in the first two months following a $1 increasing in cigarette pack prices. The organization usually only receives 9,000 calls per year, according to a report by the Campaign for Tobacco-free Kids. Similar price increases in Texas and Iowa also resulted in a surplus of phone calls to state quit lines.
In New York, tobacco sales reportedly plummeted by 27 percent after state officials voted to increase the cigarette tax to $4.35 a pack in 2010, the highest in the nation. Not all states boast a tax as large as the Empire State's -- CBS reports the national average is $1.46.
The Midwest and South have the highest smoking rates in the nation, according to the CDC. Perhaps unsurprisingly, these regions are also home to the states with the lowest tobacco taxes. Fifteen states have cigarette taxes that are less than $1. Missouri, which has the lowest rate in the U.S., has a $0.17 tariff, followed by Virginia ($0.30), Louisiana ($0.36), Georgia ($0.37) and Alabama ($.0425).
Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of death and disease in the U.S., resulting in an estimated 443,000 fatalities each year. For every one smoking-related death, the CDC reports another 20 people live with a smoking-related disease.