The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says cigarette smoking hit an all-time low in 2018, but vaping is on the rise, particularly among teens.

About 16% of adults in Georgia smoke cigarettes, which is higher than the national average, according to the American Lung Association.  Around 8% of high school students here  smoke cigarettes, according to the state health department, but vaping rates – and related lung illness — are up across the board.Erika Sward with the American Lung Association says cigarette smokers should quit and not switch to vaping or other electronic forms of tobacco use. GPB's Ellen Eldridge reports.

Erika Sward, the national assistant vice president with the American Lung Association, said people need to stop using all tobacco and the organization is urging the Food and Drug Administration to crack down on "quit-smoking claims" from cigarette companies.

"They're not true and it's just making it harder for smokers to quit for good," Sward said.


During 2017–2018, e-cigarette use among adults increased from 2.8% to 3.2%, a reversal from the decline observed among adults during 2014-2017, the CDC said in its Nov. 15 Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

The increase during that period was primarily driven by an increase in e-cigarette use among young adults (18-24 years old), which rose from 5.2% in 2017 to 7.6% in 2018, according to the report. Smokeless tobacco use also increased from 2.1% to 2.4% among adults during the same time period.

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The most important thing an adult smoker can do for his or her health is to quit tobacco, Sward said.

"We're fighting a two-front battle here," she said. "Number one is to make sure that kids are not becoming addicted to tobacco through e-cigarettes."

The CDC says about 70% of smokers want to quit and half of those will try to stop smoking in 2020.

There are seven FDA-approved quit-smoking methods, Sward said, including nicotine gum or the patch and prescription medications.

"You combine those with talking to your doctor or calling the quit line," Sward said.