Thursday, June 8, 2023

Americans Agree Cigarettes Are Unsafe, Yet 21% Report Smoking Every Day

More Americans consider cigarettes to be addictive and dangerous than those who express such concerns about cannabis, alcohol, and technology. These were among the latest findings from a national APA poll released today.

“It is clear that we have gotten the message through that cigarettes are dangerous and addictive,” but more can be done to educate Americans about other potentially addictive behaviors, APA President Petros Levounis, M.D., M.A., said in a news release. “For instance, vaping is just as, if not more, addictive than cigarette smoking.”

The poll was conducted by Morning Consult between April 20 and 22 among a sample of 2,201 adults and has a margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points.

Most respondents reported that they believe cigarettes (87%), alcohol (84%), prescription opioids (83%), and vapes (81%) are addictive. Only 64% considered cannabis to be addictive. Further, 67% reported daily technology use, 21% reported daily cigarette use, and 13% reported daily cannabis use.

Levounis emphasized that there are safe and effective treatments available to help people with substance use disorders and behavioral addiction. “Addiction treatment works,” he said.

According to the release, APA will soon launch a public awareness initiative on addiction and substance use disorders. The focus will initially be on vaping, then turn to opioids, alcohol, and technology over the next year.

Survey respondents were split on if they consider addiction to be a result of personal weakness (47% reported that they did while 53% reported that they did not). However, 76% consider addictions to be medical disorders, 76% believe they are preventable, and 93% believe they can be treated. Additional findings from the survey include the following:

  • 75% believe technology is addictive, and 65% believe it is safe.
  • 71% say that if they or someone they know was struggling with an addiction, they would feel knowledgeable about ways to help.
  • 58% say they have seen, read, or heard about Narcan and/or naloxone, but only 35% of adults say that, in the case of an opioid overdose, they would know where to find the life-saving medication.

“In 2022, opioids killed more than 100,000 people,” APA CEO and Medical Director Saul Levin, M.D., M.P.A., said in the release. “While it is encouraging that most Americans see substance use disorder as a treatable medical condition, we can do more to ensure that more of us in our communities are aware of and can access naloxone, which saves lives.”

For related information, see the Psychiatric News alert “Americans Feel Worried About Their Safety, APA Poll Finds.”

(Image: iStock/ChrisAt)


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