Adult Cigarette Smoking in the United States: Current Estimates
- An estimated 42.1 million people, or 18.1% of all adults (aged 18 years or older), in the United States smoke cigarettes.1 Cigarette smoking is more common among men (20.5%) than women (15.8%).1
- Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States, accounting for more than 480,000 deaths, or one of every five deaths, each year.2
- More than 16 million Americans suffer from a disease caused by smoking.2
- Overall smoking prevalence declined from 2005 (20.9%) to 2012 (18.1%).1
Percentage of adults who were current* cigarette smokers in 2012:1
- 18.1% of American adults are current smokers
- Represents about 42.1 million Americans
- 20.5% of adult men
- 15.8% of adult women
- 17.3% of adults aged 18–24 years
- 21.6% of adults aged 25–44 years
- 19.5% of adults aged 45–64 years
- 8.9% of adults aged 65 years and older
- 21.8% of American Indians/Alaska Natives (non-Hispanic)
- 10.7% of Asians (non-Hispanic; excludes Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders)
- 18.1% of Blacks (non-Hispanic)
- 12.5% of Hispanics
- 19.7% of Whites (non-Hispanic)
- 26.1% of Multiple race individuals
- 24.7% of adults with 12 or less years of education (no diploma)
- 41.9% of adults with a GED diploma
- 23.1% of adults with a high school diploma
- 9.1% of adults with an undergraduate college degree
- 5.9% of adults with a postgraduate college degree
By Poverty Status
- 27.9% of adults who live below the poverty level
- 17.0% of adults who live at or above the poverty level
- By state, in 2012, smoking prevalence ranged from 10.6% in Utah to 28.3% in Kentucky.3
- By U.S. Census region, during 2012, prevalence was significantly higher in the Midwest (26.0%) and South (19.7%) than in the Northeast (16.5%) and West (14.2%).1
- Current smokers are defined as persons who reported smoking at least 100 cigarettes during their lifetime and who, at the time of interview, reported smoking every day or some days.
- Poverty thresholds are based on data published by the U.S. Census Bureau.
Note: These data are periodically updated on the following CDC Web sites:
- 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 Feb 14].
- 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 Feb 14].
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System Prevalence and Trends Data, 2012. 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, 2013 [accessed 2014 Feb 14].
For Further Information
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion
Office on Smoking and Health
Media Inquiries: Contact CDC's Office on Smoking and Health press line at 770-488-5493.
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