As I’ve said before, you don’t have to criminalize unhealthy behavior to reduce it. Case in point is the greatest public health success story since the development of antibiotics, vaccinations and sewage collection and treatment systems.
Smoking tobacco among American adults has now dropped to 18 percent, the CDC reports. Considering nicotine is a contender for the most addictive substance known to science, that’s pretty impressive. Here’s how the numbers have changed over the last 50 years:
Smoking Prevalence Among U.S. Adults, 1955–2010
(as a percent of population, 18 years of age and older)