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More than half of US smokers have tried to quit, CDC says

NEW YORK — More than half of American smokers tried to quit the habit as the daily use of cigarettes fell, US health officials say.

About 19 percent of US adults, or 43.8 million, reported smoking daily or most days in 2011, little changed from 19.3 percent a year earlier, according to data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Thursday. That’s down from more than 20 percent in 2005. About 52 percent of those surveyed reported trying to stop smoking in the preceding year.

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The number of cigarettes Americans are smoking each day has fallen. In 2011, 9.1 percent of daily smokers reported puffing on more than 30 cigarettes daily, a drop of 12.6 percent from six years earlier. Even so, the number of US smokers is still too high, exceeding the 12 percent goal for American adults, the CDC said.

‘‘Tobacco use remains the single largest preventable cause of death and disease in the United States,’’ the Atlanta-based agency said in its report, citing 2010 data from the surgeon general showing that about 443,000 US adults die from smoking-related causes annually.

Smoking costs the United States an estimated $96 billion in direct medical expenses and $97 billion in lost productivity each year, according to the report.

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