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
Share
Compartir

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 440,000 Americans each year, with an estimated 49,000 of these deaths from exposure to secondhand smoke. In addition, smoking-related illness in the United States costs $96 billion in medical costs and $97 billion in lost productivity each year.1

In 2011, an estimated 19.0% (43.8 million) U.S. adults were current cigarette smokers.2 Of these, 77.8% (34.1 million) smoked every day, and 22.2% (9.7 million) smoked some days.2

By Race/Ethnicity2

Race/Ethnicity Cigarette Smoking Rate
American Indian/Alaska Natives (Non-Hispanic) 31.5%
Asians (Non-Hispanic) 9.9%
Blacks (Non-Hispanic) 19.4%
Hispanics 12.9%
Whites (Non-Hispanic) 20.6%


By Sex2

Sex Cigarette Smoking Rate
Men 21.6%
Women 16.5%


By Age2

Age Cigarette Smoking Rate
18-24 years 18.9%
25–44 years 22.1%
45–64 years 21.4%
65 years and older 7.9%


By Education2

Education Level Cigarette Smoking Rate
Less than high school 25.5%
GED 45.3%
High school graduate 23.8%
Some college 22.3%
Associate degree 19.3%
Undergraduate degree 9.3%
Postgraduate degree 5.0%


By Income Status2

Income Status Cigarette Smoking Rate
Below poverty level 29.0%
At or above poverty level 17.9%


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

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 2011:
    • 31.5% of AI/AN adults in the United States smoked cigarettes, compared with 19.0% of U.S. adults overall.2
    • The prevalence of current smoking was higher among AI/AN men (34.4%) than among AI/AN women (29.1%).2
  • From 2005 to 2011, no significant change in current smoking prevalence occurred among AI/AN adults (32.0% in 2005 to 31.5% in 2011).2,3

Asians (Non-Hispanic)

Asian Americans represent a wide variety of languages, dialects, and cultures.4 While non-Hispanic Asian adults have the lowest current smoking prevalence of any racial/ethnic group in the United States, there are significant differences in smoking prevalence among subgroups in this population.2,5 Smoking is a risk factor for many forms of cancer, heart disease, and stroke,6 which are the leading causes of death in this population.7

  • In 2011:
    • 9.9% of non-Hispanic Asian adults in the United State smoked cigarettes, compared with 19.0% of U.S. adults overall.2
    • Smoking prevalence was significantly higher among non-Hispanic Asian men (14.9%) than among non-Hispanic Asian women (5.5%).2
  • From 2005 to 2011, a decline in current smoking prevalence among non-Hispanic Asian adults occurred (from 13.3% in 2005 to 9.9% in 2011).2,3

Estimates reflecting a more comprehensive representation of current smoking among Asian subpopulations were published in the July 2008 issue of Preventing Chronic Disease: Public Health Research, Practice, and Policy.5 These estimates, based on four National Surveys 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.5
  • Smoking prevalence was significantly higher among Asian men (21.6%) than among Asian women (8.1%).5
  • The percentage of respondents who reported smoking within the past 30 days by subpopulations surveyed were:5
    • Chinese - 8.8%
    • Asian Indian - 11.9%
    • Japanese - 12.1%
    • Filipino - 16.7%
    • Vietnamese - 21.5%
    • Korean - 26.6%
  • Among women, smoking prevalence ranged from 3.5% among Asian Indians to 20.1% among Koreans.5
  • Among men, smoking prevalence ranged from 13.9% among Chinese individuals to 37.4% among Koreans.5

Blacks (Non-Hispanic)

The prevalence of current smoking among non-Hispanic black adults is similar to the prevalence among adults in the general population and among non-Hispanic white adults (20.6%).2 However, smoking remains a serious problem for this population.

  • In 2011:
    • 19.4% of non-Hispanic black adults in the United States smoked cigarettes, compared with 19.0% of U.S. adults overall.2
    • Smoking prevalence was significantly higher among non-Hispanic black men (24.2%) than among non-Hispanic black women (15.5%).2
  • From 2005 to 2011, no significant change in current smoking prevalence occurred among non-Hispanic blacks (from 21.5% in 2005 to 19.4% in 2011).2,3

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,6 which are leading causes of death for Hispanics in the United States.7

  • In 2011:
    • 12.9% of Hispanic adults in the United States smoked cigarettes, compared with 19.0% among U.S. adults overall.2
    • Smoking prevalence was significantly higher among Hispanic men (17.0%) than among Hispanic women (8.6%).2
  • From 2005 to 2011, a decline in current smoking prevalence among Hispanics was noted (from 16.2% in 2005 to 12.9% in 2011).2,3

Estimates reflecting a more comprehensive representation of current smoking among Hispanic subpopulations were published in the July 2008 issue of Preventing Chronic Disease: Public Health Research, Practice, and Policy.5 These estimates, based on four National Surveys on Drug Use and Health conducted between 2002 and 2005, show that:

  • During the 30 days prior to being surveyed, 23.9% of Hispanics aged 18 years and older had smoked cigarettes, compared with 26.9% in the overall U.S. adult population.5
  • Smoking prevalence was significantly higher among Hispanic men (30.1%) than among Hispanic women (17.5%).5
  • The percentage of respondents who reported smoking within the past 30 days by subpopulations surveyed were:5
    • 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.5
  • Among men, smoking prevalence ranged from 25.3% among Central or South Americans to 35.6% among Puerto Ricans.5

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.10 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.11

  • In 2009–2010, the prevalence of current cigarette smoking among LGBT individuals was 32.8%, compared with 19.5% among heterosexual individuals.12

Military Service Members and Veterans

In the United States, smoking prevalence is higher among people serving in the military than among the civilian population.8,9 Smoking prevalence is even higher among military personnel who have been deployed.8

  • Among men aged 25–64 during 2007–2010, 29% of veterans reported being current cigarette smokers, compared with 24% of those who had not served in the military.9
  • Among men aged 45–54 years during 2007–2010, 36% of veterans reported being current cigarette smokers, compared with 24% of those who had not served in the military.9

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 for15% of the male population aged 25 to 64 years, ranging from 6% among men ages 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

Facts About Secondhand Smoke

  • An estimated 88 million nonsmokers in the United States breathe other peoples' tobacco smoke.13
  • Each year, about 46,000 nonsmokers in the United States die from heart disease caused by secondhand smoke.1
  • Secondhand smoke exposure causes an estimated 3,400 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%.14
  • Secondhand smoke exposure is higher among persons with low incomes: 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.13

Top of Page

References

  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Smoking-Attributable Mortality, Years of Potential Life Lost, and Productivity Losses—United States, 2000–2004.Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 2008;57(45):1226–8 [accessed 2013 Feb 21].
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Current Cigarette Smoking Among Adults—United States, 2011. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 2012;61(44):889–94 [accessed 2013 Feb 21].
  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Vital Signs: Current Cigarette Smoking Among Adults Aged ≥ 18 Years—United States, 2005–2010. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 2011;60(35):1207–12 [accessed 2013 Feb 21].
  4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Office of Minority Health & Health Disparities. Asian American Populations [accessed 2013 Feb 21].
  5. Caraballo RS, Yee SL, Gfroerer J, Mirza S. Adult Tobacco Use Among Racial and Ethnic Groups Living in the United States [PDF - 448KB]. Preventing Chronic Disease: Public Health Research, Practice, and Policy 2008; 5(3):1–6 [accessed 2013 Feb 21].
  6. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. How Tobacco Smoke Causes Disease: The Biology and Behavioral Basis for Smoking-Attributable Disease. 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, 2010 [accessed 2013 Feb 21].
  7. National Center for Health Statistics. Health, United States, 2011: With Special Feature on Socioeconomic Status and Health [PDF - 9.8MB] (Table 26). Hyattsville, MD. 2012 [accessed 2013 Feb 21].
  8. IOM (Institute of Medicine). 2009. Combating Tobacco Use in Military and Veteran Populations. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press [accessed 2013 Feb 21].
  9. 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 [PDF - 864KB]. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 2012; 61(45):929 [accessed 2013 Feb 21].
  10. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Health [page last updated 2012 Sep 6; accessed 2013 Feb 21].
  11. 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 2013 Feb 21].
  12. King BA, Dube SR, Tynan MA. Current Tobacco Use Among Adults in the United States: Findings from the National Adult Tobacco Survey. American Journal of Public Health 2012 Nov;102(11):e93–e100 [cited 2013 Feb 21].
  13. 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 2013 Feb 21].
  14. 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 2013 Feb 21].

Top of Page


 

I'm ready to quit! Free resources provided by Smokefree.gov

You can quit smoking. Talk with your doctor for help. Learn more.
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 Rd. Atlanta, GA 30333, 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. #