The number of smokers has ticked up a notch after five years of decline or holding steady. The percentage of Americans who light up rose from 19.8% in 2007 to 20.6% in 2008, a CDC report says. The longer-term picture is better: Since 1998, the percentage has dropped from 24.1%. But "rates have shown virtually no change" over the last five years, the report says. Men (23%) are more likely to be smokers than women (18%), notes US News & World Report.
"Tobacco is the leading cause of preventable death in the US, and we know what to do," said CDC chief Thomas Frieden. "We want to provide support to states and localities to implement proven programs, and if we do that, we can save literally millions of lives in the decades to come."