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8% OF SMOKERS WHO TRY TO QUIT SUCCEED, POLL SAYS

SHARE 8% OF SMOKERS WHO TRY TO QUIT SUCCEED, POLL SAYS

More than 15 million people try to quit smoking each year - and most of them fail, the government says.

Only about 8 percent of American adults who try are able to kick the habit, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Thursday."That shows you exactly how addictive smoking is," said Michael Eriksen, director of the CDC's Office on Smoking and Health. "Despite what the tobacco companies are saying, smokers know they're addicted."

Eriksen said restrictions on smoking at work and in public can help people quit. People forced to go without for an eight-hour work day often decide to give up smoking altogether.

"When you have a high interest in quitting and additional motivation such as restrictions, the two come together," said Eriksen, a former smoker who quit 20 years ago.

The figures were based on a 1993 survey by the CDC of nearly 21,000 adults selected at random and questioned in person. The participants identified themselves as daily smokers, occasional smokers, former smokers or nonsmokers. The CDC let those surveyed classify themselves, without defining all categories.

Thirty-four percent of the nation's 46 million smokers try to quit each year, the CDC said. Of those, about 1 million succeed, whether they try nicotine patches, counseling, hypnosis or the "cold turkey" method.

The survey found that the percentage of adults who smoke has held steady at around 25 percent during the 1990s, after dropping from 42.4 percent from 1965 to 1990.