Only 9 percent of Utahns smoke, compared to about 21 percent of their fellow Americans. The national figure is up slightly from the 19.8 percent who reported themselves as smokers the previous year, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The results foiled CDC officials' hopes for another decline to below 20 percent — perhaps permanently — below 20 percent.
The increase was so small, it could be just a blip, so health officials and experts say smoking prevalence is flat, not rising.
"Clearly, we've hit a wall in reducing adult smoking," said Vince Willmore, spokesman for the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, a research and advocacy organization based in Washington, D.C.
There's a general perception that smoking is a dying public health danger. Feeding that perception are indoor smoking laws, cigarette taxes and Congress' recent decision to allow the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to regulate tobacco.