Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Watch Smoking Die


These pictures and animations are self-explanatory. It's not really debatable that smoking has gone out of fashion in the United States. The below animation shows graphically how people have smoked fewer and fewer cigarettes over the last 40+ years. A new trend has been e-cigarettes, but there have been hints of an uprising against them as well.

It has not been a straight line to less smoking, but the trend is pretty clear.
The above GIF was created by MetricMaps. It shows the number of cigarette packs sold per capita from 1970 onwards. Smoking rose dramatically through the late 1970s, but then it plummeted to just a fraction of that by the 2000s.

The very short clip below shows in pretty graphic detail what smoking does to your lungs. It shows how far a normal lung can expand - and one contaminated by years of tar and nicotine.

I'm not much of a crusader on social issues, but... smoking is bad for you. Anti-smoking laws like state/federal tobacco taxes, prevention, and cessation programs and public smoking bans have contributed to the decline - but it's just a nasty, dirty habit. Smart folks who care about their health don't smoke, or they quit after it stops becoming a fashion accessory in their own little group.

A fairly steady decline in smoking.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 18.1% of all U.S. adults continue to regularly smoke cigarettes. This, however, is a 2.8% decrease from 2005 alone.

Almost every state had sales of more than 100 packs per capita or close to it in 1970. It was just ... the thing to do. You were square and sad if you didn't smoke. Now, just West Virginia and Kentucky sell that many packs today. Note that since the map tracks sales rather than smokers, some of the statistics are skewed — New Hampshire seems from the map to be a smoker's haven, but this is a peculiar statistical artifact - the state registers disproportionate sales thanks to its low cigarette taxes.

If you did a similar review of pot sales in Colorado, for instance - not to pick on them, this is only to illustrate that this goes on with all these kinds of statistics - you would find that a) the state would register astronomical sales relative to the entire rest of the country, and b) within the state, some towns would show extremely high sales while others showed none at all. That is because of the same effect - Colorado is the only legal place in the region to buy pot, so of course, it will show more (legal and tabulated) sales than other states. And some towns within Colorado prohibit the sale of marijuana, so they will show no sales at all while adjoining towns show unusually high sales (this fact, incidentally, has been reported in the media, it is not a guess). Hmmm. People from the surrounding states and the "smoke-free" towns cross over and buy in the legal jurisdictions, so it makes some places look either extremely "virtuous" or extremely "hedonistic" or however you want to term it. Of course, some places are extremely one way or the other by current social standards, but in these types of statistical run-downs, some part of that is just a similar statistical/legal artifact.


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