Who’s smoking now, and why it matters

Kenneth E. Warner
A man at a recovery center in Youngstown, Ohio, smokes a cigarette, June 15, 2017.

Suppose you were told that there is something responsible for nearly 1 of every 5 deaths of Americans, and that it is completely avoidable. Would you believe – today – that “something” is cigarette smoking?

If you’re a college graduate, you might not believe it. You don’t smoke. Your friends and colleagues don’t smoke. You never see smoke in your workplace, nor in the restaurants and bars you frequent. Like many of the nation’s most educated citizens, you may well regard the problem of smoking as largely solved. Because the educated population is also the most politically engaged, cigarette smoking has virtually disappeared from the nation’s health policy agenda. 

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