Cigarettes used to be everywhere in American society. Fifty years ago, 42.4 percent of U.S. adults smoked. Since then, that figure has declined by more than half, reaching a record low 17.8 percent in 2014. What’s more, the rate is still dropping.
How did we reach the point where clouds of smoke a la "Mad Men" look so anachronistic? Several factors combined to yield one of the most successful and perhaps under-appreciated public health victories of our lifetimes. Here are five reasons for the dramatic decline of smoking in American life.