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The nation’s smoking rate for adults has dipped to 18 percent after a seven year stall, according to a report by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. The new report is from a survey of about 35,000 U.S. adults, in which participants were asked to identify themselves as smokers if they had smoked more than 100 cigarettes in their lifetime. The rate was only 9 percent for people ages 65 and older, but about 20 percent for younger adults. More men than women described themselves as current smokers. Though it is not conclusive why the rate dropped, factors that may explain this encouraging trend include rising tobacco taxes, increase in prevention and cessation programs and more laws banning smoking in public. Smoking is the leading cause of preventable illness and death in the U.S., killing more than 440,000 people each year.

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