Restaurateur Mickey Ferry has seen it all when it comes to smoking.
“I recall when there was no such thing as a non-smoking section. Then there was a smoking section right next to the non-smoking section. Now of course there’s no smoking indoors,” says Ferry.
From his viewpoint, it comes as no surprise that fewer adults are lighting up.
“I would probably agree that there’s less people smoking in general, I myself quite smoking 10 years ago,” says Ferry.
After a seven- year stall, the number of adult smokers dropped to 18% according the CDC. Still cigarettes are the leading cause of preventable illness and death. Doctors say the power to change, is within our grasp.
“This is one of the few things, unlike genetic disease, where we can modify. We can change our health by choosing not to pick up cigarettes,” says Dr. Sunil Pammi.
Dr. Pammi is a pulmonologist with Lee Memorial Health System.
“I think with things that have happened over the recent years, a greater awareness of what the cigarettes are doing, the cost of cigarettes that are increasing over time. People are trying to move away from cigarettes,” says Dr. Pammi.
The government study doesn’t explain the downturn, but it may be a net result of rising tobacco taxes, media campaigns and another trend Ferry sees.
“A lot of people are picking up the vape, a trend that’s happening now. That’s not considered smoking indoors so they can get their little fix of nicotine,” says Ferry.
The FDA and health experts haven’t given e-cigarettes their stamp of approval.
“We want people to stop smoking and there’s a sense in the community that this is a good option to do so. However it’s not been regulated and it’s not been studied,” says Dr. Pammi.
Whatever the cause, experts hope it lights a fire under more people, encouraging them to kick the habit.