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Adult Cigarette Smoking in the United States: Current Estimates

Overview

  • 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

National Estimates

Percentage of adults who were current* cigarette smokers in 2012:1


Overall

  • 18.1% of American adults are current smokers
  • Represents about 42.1 million Americans

By Gender

  • 20.5% of adult men
  • 15.8% of adult women

By Age

  • 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

By Race/Ethnicity

  • 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

By Education

  • 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

State Estimates


  • 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

Notes:
 

  • 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:



References

  1. 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].
  2. 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].
  3. 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
E-mail: tobaccoinfo@cdc.gov
Phone: 1-800-CDC-INFO

Media Inquiries: Contact CDC's Office on Smoking and Health press line at 770-488-5493.

 
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