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Large Percentages of U.S. Adults with Potentially Life-threatening Chronic Diseases Continue to Smoke

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AHRQ News and Numbers

Release date: October 25, 2005

In 2003, more than 43 percent of American adults who suffered from emphysema—a debilitating chronic illness that is associated with cigarette smoking—reported that they still smoked in spite of their disease when surveyed by the Federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

AHRQ's Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS) also looked at the percentages of Americans with five other smoking-related diseases who reported that they continued to smoke. The diseases and percentage of smokers are:

  •  Asthma—22.2 percent.
  •  Stroke—21.3 percent.
  •  Cardiovascular problems—19.9 percent.
  •  High blood pressure—7.9 percent.
  •  Diabetes—6.0 percent.

MEPS further found that:

  • Slightly less than half of all Americans who smoked in 2003 had a routine check-up within the last year, compared with 61.1 percent of non-smokers.
  • In 2003, nearly two-thirds (63.6 percent) of those smokers who did have a routine check-up within the last year were counseled by a physician to stop smoking.
  • This is an increase over the 57 percent in 2000 who reported being counseled by a doctor to stop smoking.

This AHRQ News and Numbers was based largely on data in Statistical Brief No. 101: Variations in Smoking by Selected Demographic, Socioeconomic, Insurance, and Health Characteristics, United States, 2003, available at [PDF Help].


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