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USA. Price of victory over smoking

February 25, 2013

October edition of authoritative magazine Scientific American for this year cite terrific data about dynamic of so called behavioral risks in USA during 15 years from 1995 till 2010. Or, simply said about what has changed during these years in USA alcohol and tobacco consumption and obesity spreading.

Article was entitled eloquently: "Fatter, Drinker Nation and yet Americans are smoking less and exercising more".

During the last 15 years in USA people have started to smoke less. Only in several states tobacco consumption hasn't reduced: in West Virginia, for example, there were 25.8 % of adult smokers and became 26.8 %. In majority of cases took place significant reduction of smokers. In Utah there were only 13.8 % and remained only 9.1 % of population. Average countrywide this index has reduced from 22.7 % in 1995 to 17.3 in 2010. It is important figure and it is scientific fact: in USA for today smoke 17 % of population or each sixth.

Also it is worth to mention that for these 15 years in USA were not taken any principled measures of traditional anti-tobacco regulation: ban on advertising or introduction of graphical warnings on cigarette packs, increase of taxes or smokers' banishment from restaurants. Of course, in many states taxes were increased and were introduced bans, as it was in California or New York city. US legislation allows wide initiatives on local level or state level. But federal excise tax was increased only in 2010 and there was no general anti-tobacco politics in USA. Nevertheless, during 15 years smoking has decreased almost by quarter. And of course this is for problem-free countries. Such processes take place since 1960th in Japan and West Europe. For smoking refusal comfortable life of as many citizens as possible is needed and no bans and taxes. And of course, promotion is important as well. There is a lot of promotion in USA. It is made in USA both on governmental money (of various authority levels) and numerous funds. Together with unending trials against tobacco Companies it creates situation of countrywide intolerance to smoking that is more effective than juridical ban.

But smoking reduction has also the other side - growth of alcoholism and obesity. Reduction of tobacco consumption in USA is accompanied by increase of alcoholism almost in all states and all without any exception by obesity spreading. For qualifying to "heavy drinkers" American researchers use criteria "minimum two drinks a day", i.e. beginning with 80 grams and more of string spirits every day. Percentage of alcoholics in USA has increased in average almost twice - from 2.9 % to 4.9 % during just 15 years. Situation with obesity is more difficult. Percentage of people with body-weight index 30 and more in 1995 was 15.9 %, but in 2010 it made 27.6 % - almost every third American.

If connection of smoking refusal with alcoholism is not so evident, replacement of smoking by snacks is usual. And people begin to belting the grape oftener if there is no possibility to allay nerves with cigarette. These effects are also interconnected. Does it worth to mention that obesity and hard drinking cause risks of a whole bunch of diseases? But alcohol dependence, in addition, causes personality change, asocial behavior what doesn't happen with smoker who never loses human face.


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