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US adult smoking rate reaches new low

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The adult smoking rate in the United States has reached a new low, dropping below 20 percent for the first time ever. What's more, the former smokers now outnumber current smokers, a trend that has been building for 6 years. But it's not all good news. More than 43 million adults are smokers, and the vast majority of them smoke every day. Smoking-related illnesses, such as heart disease and lung cancer, still claim 443,000 lives each year, and the resulting medical bills total 96 billion dollars. COPD, a disease that encompasses emphysema and chronic bronchitis, is still the 4th leading killer in the U.S. But there are small signs of progress: smoking rates dropped by 3 percent among blacks last year, and more than 50% of young adults had tried to quit within the past 12 months. Experts say the key to quitting is to keep trying. American smokers will have another great opportunity next Monday, as the country celebrates the Great American Smokeout.

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