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CDC: Number of US Adults Who Smoke Down to 18%

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- More Americans are kicking the smoking habit, a new government report finds.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says just 18 percent of U.S. adults called themselves smokers last year, a drop from the past decade.

"Back in 1997, 25 percent of adults smoked.  This year, in 2012, it's down to 18 percent; a pretty dramatic drop.  The exciting thing about that is that the rates for smoking had leveled off to about 20 percent.  And it held there through the mid-2000s," says ABC News' Chief Health and Medical Editor Dr. Richard Besser.

The decrease may be attributed to the growing number of smoking bans in restaurants, bars and parks, and the graphic ad campaign the CDC launched last year called "Tips from Former Smokers."

When broken down specifically, the figures show that men still smoke at a higher rate than women -- 20 percent versus 16 percent.

"If you break it down by race and ethnicity, there are differences as well," says Besser.  "Smoking among Hispanic adults is 12 percent.  Non-Hispanic white adults is at 20 and a-half percent.  And non-Hispanic blacks is at 18 percent."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

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