The majority of smokers in the U.S. would like to quit. Despite declines in cigarette use during the past several decades, smoking remains common (21%) among U.S. adults and is the leading preventable cause of death. Tobacco control efforts have greatly reduced smoking prevalence (from 43% in 1964). However, extensive evidence shows that the decline in smoking prevalence has stagnated for the past 10 years. The reasons for this stagnation are unknown. While tobacco control efforts have been very successful, ultimately, these strategies may not reach all smokers. Therefore, the proposed study will examine whether the prevalence of specific factors that impede successful quitting have become more common among smokers over the past two decades. We will also examine potential pathways through which these factors may lead to persistent smoking. The results of this study will lead to a better understanding of the barriers to cessation among remaining smokers, informing the debate over how to lower the prevalence of smoking in the US.
After substantial declines in cigarette smoking among adults in the US over the past several decades, the decline has stagnated and the prevalence of smoking has remained common at approximately 21% for the past decade. The proposed study aims to understand several potential factors which may be contributing to this stagnation. Understanding the reasons behind the stagnation in smoking decline is crucial to the development of effective interventions-whether policy, public health/tobacco control or clinical treatment.
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