Skip directly to search Skip directly to A to Z list Skip directly to navigation Skip directly to site content Skip directly to page options
CDC Home

Cigarette Smoking in the United States

Current Cigarette Smoking Among U.S. Adults Aged 18 Years and Older

By Race/Ethnicity | By Sex | By Age | By Education | By Income Status

Tobacco use remains the single largest preventable cause of death and disease in the United States. Cigarette smoking kills more than 480,000 Americans each year, with more than 41,000 of these deaths from exposure to secondhand smoke. In addition, smoking-related illness in the United States costs more than $289 billion a year, including at least $133 billion in direct medical care for adults and $156 billion in lost productivity.1

In 2012, an estimated 18.1% (42.1 million) U.S. adults were current cigarette smokers.2 Of these, 78.4% (33.0 million) smoked every day, and 21.6% (9.1 million) smoked some days.2

By Race/Ethnicity2

Race/Ethnicity Prevalence
American Indian/Alaska Natives (non-Hispanic) 21.8%
Asians (non-Hispanic) 10.7%
Blacks (non-Hispanic) 18.1%
Hispanics 12.5%
Whites (non-Hispanic) 19.7%
Multiple Races (non-Hispanic) 26.1%


By Sex2

Sex Prevalence
Men 20.5%
Women 15.8%


By Age2

Age Prevalence
18–24 years 17.3%
25–44 years 21.6%
45–64 years 19.5%
65 years and older  8.9%


By Education2

Education Level Prevalence
Less than high school 24.7%
GED 41.9%
High school graduate 23.1%
Some college 20.9%
Associate degree 17.9%
Undergraduate degree   9.1%
Postgraduate degree   5.9%


By Income Status2

Income Status Prevalence
Below poverty level 27.9%
At or above poverty level 17.0%


Top of Page

Current Cigarette Smoking Among Specific Populations—United States

American Indian/Alaska Natives | Asians | Blacks | Hispanics | Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) | Military | People Living With HIV | Pregnant or Planning a Baby

American Indian/Alaska Natives (Non-Hispanic)

American Indian/Alaska Natives (AI/ANs) have a higher prevalence of current smoking than most other racial/ethnic groups in the United States, making cigarette smoking a serious problem to the health of that population.2

  • In 2012:
    • 21.8% of AI/AN adults in the United States smoked cigarettes, compared with 18.1% of U.S. adults overall.2
    • The prevalence of current cigarette smoking was higher among AI/AN men (25.5%) than among AI/AN women (18.7%).2
  • From 2005 to 2012, current cigarette smoking prevalence decreased among AI/AN adults (from 32.0% in 2005 to 21.8% in 2012).2

Asians (Non-Hispanic)

Asian Americans represent a wide variety of languages, dialects, and cultures.3 While non-Hispanic Asian adults have the lowest current cigarette smoking prevalence of any racial/ethnic group in the United States, there are significant differences in smoking prevalence among subgroups in this population.4 Smoking is a risk factor for many forms of cancer, heart disease, and stroke,1 which are the leading causes of death in this population.5

  • In 2012:
    • 10.7% of non-Hispanic Asian adults in the United State smoked cigarettes, compared with 18.1% of U.S. adults overall.2
    • Cigarette smoking prevalence was significantly higher among non-Hispanic Asian men (16.7%) than among non-Hispanic Asian women (5.5%).2
  • From 2005 to 2012, a decline in current smoking prevalence among non-Hispanic Asian adults occurred (from 13.3% in 2005 to 10.7% in 2012).2

Estimates reflecting a more comprehensive representation of current smoking among Asian subpopulations were published in Preventing Chronic Disease in July 2008.4 These estimates, based on four waves of the National Survey on Drug Use and Health conducted between 2002 and 2005, show that:

  • During the 30 days prior to being surveyed, 14.5% of Asians aged 18 years and older had smoked cigarettes, compared with 26.9% in the overall U.S. adult population.4
  • Cigarette smoking prevalence was significantly higher among Asian men (21.6%) than among Asian women (8.1%).4
  • The percentage of respondents who reported smoking within the past 30 days by subpopulations surveyed were:4
    • Chinese - 8.8%
    • Asian Indian - 11.9%
    • Japanese - 12.1%
    • Filipino - 16.7%
    • Vietnamese - 21.5%
    • Korean - 26.6%
  • Among women, cigarette smoking prevalence ranged from 3.5% among Asian Indians to 20.1% among Koreans.4
  • Among men, cigarette smoking prevalence ranged from 13.9% among Chinese individuals to 37.4% among Koreans.4

Blacks (Non-Hispanic)

The prevalence of current cigarette smoking among non-Hispanic black adults is similar to the prevalence among adults in the general population and among non-Hispanic white adults (19.7%).2 However, smoking remains a serious problem for this population.

  • In 2012:
    • 18.1% of non-Hispanic black adults in the United States smoked cigarettes, which is the same as U.S. adults overall.2
    • Smoking prevalence was significantly higher among non-Hispanic black men (22.1%) than among non-Hispanic black women (14.8%).2
  • From 2005 to 2012, current cigarette smoking prevalence decreased among non-Hispanic blacks (from 22.1% in 2005 to 14.8% in 2012).2

Hispanics

The prevalence of cigarette smoking among Hispanics is generally lower than the prevalence among other racial/ethnic groups in the United States, with the exception of non-Hispanic Asians. However, smoking prevalence among Hispanic men is significantly higher than among Hispanic women, and cigarette smoking remains a serious health concern in this population.2 Cigarette smoking is a risk factor for heart disease and stroke,1 which are leading causes of death for Hispanics in the United States.5

  • In 2012:
    • 12.5% of Hispanic adults in the United States smoked cigarettes, compared with 18.1% among U.S. adults overall.2
    • Cigarette smoking prevalence was significantly higher among Hispanic men (17.2%) than among Hispanic women (7.8%).2
  • From 2005 to 2012, a decline in current smoking prevalence among Hispanics was noted (from 16.2% in 2005 to 12.5% in 2012).2

Estimates reflecting a more comprehensive representation of current smoking among Hispanic subpopulations were published in Preventing Chronic Disease in July 2008.4 These estimates, based on four waves of the National Surveys on Drug Use and Health conducted between 2002 and 2005, show that:

  • The percentage of respondents who reported smoking within the past 30 days by subpopulations surveyed were:4
    • Central or South American - 20.2%
    • Mexican - 23.8%
    • Cuban - 25.2%
    • Puerto Rican - 31.5%
  • Among women, smoking prevalence ranged from 14.7% among Central or South Americans to 28.0% among Puerto Ricans.4
  • Among men, smoking prevalence ranged from 25.3% among Central or South Americans to 35.6% among Puerto Ricans.4

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT)

Smoking prevalence among lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals in the United States is much higher than among the total population.6 This is in part due to the aggressive marketing of tobacco products to this community. LGBT individuals are also likely to have risk factors for smoking that include daily stress related to prejudice and stigma that they may face.7

  • In 2012–2013, the prevalence of current cigarette smoking among lesbian, gay, and bisexual individuals was 27.7%, compared with 17.3% among heterosexual/straight individuals.8

Military Service Members and Veterans

In the United States, cigarette smoking prevalence is higher among people serving in the military than among the civilian population.9,10 Cigarette smoking prevalence is even higher among military personnel who have been deployed.9 During 2007–2010:10

  • Male veterans aged 25–64 years were more likely to be current smokers than nonveterans (29% versus 24%).
  • Among men aged 45–54 years, 36% of veterans reported being current smokers, compared with 24% of nonveterans.

Current Smoking* Among Men Aged 25 to 64 Years, by Age Group and Veteran Status—National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), United States, 2007 to 2010§

Figure showing that the rate of smoking is higher among male adults who are military veterans.

Footnotes:

  • * Current smoking is defined as having smoked at least 100 cigarettes in their lifetime.
  • In NHIS, veterans identify themselves by responding "Yes" to the question "Have you ever been honorably discharged from active duty in the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, or Coast Guard?" During 2007 to 2010, veterans accounted for 15% of the male population aged 25 to 64 years, ranging from 6% among men aged 25 to 34 years to 34% for those aged 55 to 64 years.
  • § Estimates are based on household interviews of a sample of the civilian, noninstitutionalized U.S. population and are derived from the NHIS sample adult component.
  • Data for the 25 to 64 age bracket has a 95% confidence interval.

Top of Page

Women Who Are Pregnant or Plan to Become Pregnant

In the United States, modest decreases in smoking during pregnancy and after delivery occurred between 2000 and 2010, according to a study of 39 states and New York City.11

In 2010, data from 27 sites, representing 52% of live births, showed:11

  • About 23% of women reported smoking in the 3 months prior to pregnancy.
  • Almost 11% reported smoking during pregnancy.
  • More than half of pregnant smokers (54.3%) reported that they quit smoking by the last 3 months of pregnancy.

After delivery, almost 16% of mothers reported smoking.11

Among racial and ethnic groups, smoking during pregnancy was highest among American Indians/Alaska Natives (26.0%) and lowest among Asians/Pacific Islanders (2.1%).11

After delivery, the highest prevalence of smoking was reported in women aged 20–24 years (25.5%), American Indians/Alaska Natives (40.1%), those who had less than 12 years of education (24.5%), and those who had Medicaid coverage during pregnancy or delivery (24.3%).11

Smoking Status—Total Population, 2010 Prevalence11
Smoked before pregnancy 23.2%
Smoked during pregnancy 10.7%
Quit smoking during pregnancy 54.3%
Smoked after delivery 15.9%

Top of Page

People Living With HIV

Cigarette smoking prevalence is much higher among people who are living with HIV in the United States than among the total population.12,13 Advances in science mean that HIV is now a chronic, manageable disease. Many people with HIV lead healthy, happy lives. However, smoking has serious health effects on people with HIV, including higher risks for cancer, bacterial pneumonia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), heart disease, and stroke.12

Among all adults, 18.1% smoked cigarettes in 2012.2 Smoking prevalence is estimated to be at least two times higher among adults who are HIV-positive than in the general population.12,13

Top of Page

Facts About Secondhand Smoke

  • During 2007-2008, an estimated 88 million nonsmokers in the United States breathed other peoples' tobacco smoke.14
  • Each year, about 34,000 nonsmokers in the United States die from heart disease caused by secondhand smoke.1
  • Secondhand smoke exposure causes an estimated 7,300 lung cancer deaths annually among adult nonsmokers in the United States.1
  • Nonsmokers who are exposed to secondhand smoke at home or work increase their lung cancer risk by 20–30%.15
  • Secondhand smoke exposure is higher among persons with low incomes. For example, 60.5% of persons living below the poverty level in the United States were exposed to secondhand smoke in 2007–2008, compared with 36.9% of persons living at or above the poverty level.15

Top of Page

References

  1. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Health Consequences of Smoking—50 Years of Progress: A Report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health, 2014 [accessed 2014 Aug 12].
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Current Cigarette Smoking Among Adults—United States, 2005–2012. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 2014;63(02):29–34 [accessed 2014 Aug 12].
  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Office of Minority Health and Health Equity. Asian American Populations [last updated 2013 Jul 2; accessed 2014 Aug 12].
  4. Caraballo RS, Yee SL, Gfroerer J, Mirza S. Adult Tobacco Use Among Racial and Ethnic Groups Living in the United States 2002–2005. Preventing Chronic Disease: Public Health Research, Practice, and Policy 2008; 5(3):1–6 [accessed 2014 Aug 12].
  5. National Center for Health Statistics. Health United States, 2012: With Special Feature on Emergency Care (Table 22) [accessed 2014 Aug 12].
  6. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Health [last updated 2014 Aug 12; accessed 2014 Aug 12].
  7. Fiore MC, Jaén CR, Baker TB, et al. Treating Tobacco Use and Dependence: 2008 Update—Clinical Practice Guidelines. Rockville (MD): U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, 2008 [accessed 2014 Aug 12].
  8. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Tobacco Product Use Among Adults—United States, 2012–2013. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 2014;63(25):542–7 [accessed 2014 Aug 12].
  9. IOM (Institute of Medicine). 2009. Combating Tobacco Use in Military and Veteran Populations. Washington: The National Academies Press [accessed 2014 Aug 12].
  10. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Quick Stats: Current Smoking* Among Men Aged 25–64 Years, by Age Group and Veteran Status—National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), United States, 2007–2010. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 2012; 61(45):929 [accessed 2014 Aug 12].
  11. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Trends in Smoking Before, During, and After Pregnancy—Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System, United States, 40 Sites, 2000–2010. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 2013; 62(SS06);1–19 [accessed 2014 Aug 12].
  12. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. AIDS.gov: HIV and Smoking [last updated 2013 Jul 5; accessed 2014 Aug 12].
  13. Health Resources and Services Administration. Guide for HIV/AIDS Clinical Care [last updated Jan 2011; accessed 2014 Aug 12].
  14. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Vital Signs: Nonsmokers' Exposure to Secondhand Smoke—United States, 1999–2008. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 2010;59(35):1141–6 [accessed 2014 Aug 12].
  15. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Health Consequences of Involuntary Exposure to Tobacco Smoke: A Report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Coordinating Center for Health Promotion, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health, 2006 [accessed 2014 Aug 12].

Top of Page


 

I'm ready to quit! Free resources provided by Smokefree.gov
Contact Us:
  • CDC/Office on Smoking and Health
    4770 Buford Highway
    MS F-79
    Atlanta, Georgia 30341-3717
  • 800-CDC-INFO
    (800-232-4636)
    8a-8p ET
    Monday-Friday
    Closed Holidays
  • tobaccomediacampaign
    @cdc.gov
USA.gov: The U.S. Government's Official Web PortalDepartment of Health and Human Services
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention   1600 Clifton Road Atlanta, GA 30329-4027, USA
800-CDC-INFO (800-232-4636) TTY: (888) 232-6348 - Contact CDC–INFO
A-Z Index
  1. A
  2. B
  3. C
  4. D
  5. E
  6. F
  7. G
  8. H
  9. I
  10. J
  11. K
  12. L
  13. M
  14. N
  15. O
  16. P
  17. Q
  18. R
  19. S
  20. T
  21. U
  22. V
  23. W
  24. X
  25. Y
  26. Z
  27. #