Number of smokers decrease

CDC says fewer people are smoking. / Jessica Fairley

The Centers for Disease Control has released a report that says smoking among adults over the age of 18 has dropped over 20 percent since 2005. That's about three million fewer smokers than six years ago.

Unlike 25 years ago, it's not as easy to spot a smoker on the street. Many public areas don't allow it and due to health warnings, it's almost become a taboo. But although the number of smokers has dropped over the years, CDC officials say it hasn't gone down enough and the rate of decline is slowing.

"Less people are buying cigarettes but they are also going to cheaper brands," said convenience store clerk Terrence Byrd.

He says many times customers who smoke aren't concerned about the health aspect. Since the economy is on a downward slope, he says it's all about price.

"They bargain hunt, that's basically what they are doing. Bargain hunting for the cheaper price. If it's not in their price range they aren't going to buy it," said Byrd

He says not many young people smoke cigarettes but the middle-aged crowd makes up in numbers and they keep coming. Although, he says there are a few who choose to give up the habit.

People say they're not only quitting because of the cost but the toll that it takes on their body just isn't worth it.

"It's best to stop. You can save money and better your health at the same time," said ex-smoker Michael Romine.

"I saw what it did to people. Everybody thinks they start smoking and it's the cool thing to do but if you look at people as they age you see how it takes away from their life," said ex-smoker Corey Stephens.

Both Stephens and Romine gave up smoking. They say although it was easy for them, it's been a struggle for friends and family. CDC officials say this is a sign that states need to strengthen their tobacco control efforts and Stephens agree. He says without the knowledge kids can easily be overtaken by peer pressure.

"I grew up in a neighborhood where everybody did drugs smoked cigarettes and drink alcohol," said Stephens.

And he says so did he, but once he realized the value of his life he changed.

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