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Prevalence of Current Cigarette Smoking Among Adults and Changes in Prevalence of Current and Some Day Smoking—United States, 1996–2001

April 11, 2003 / Vol. 52 / No. 14


MMWR Highlights

  • In 2001, adult current smoking prevalence ranged from 13.3%–30.9%, (median 23.4%) for the states and the District of Columbia. Overall, from 1996–2001, no change in the prevalence of current smoking was noted for 41 states and the District of Columbia.
  • Prevalence of current smoking for the three territories ranged from 9.8% to 31.4%. Prevalence was 9.8% in the Virgin Islands, 12.5% in Puerto Rico and 31.4% in Guam.
  • There were significant sex differences in smoking prevalence for 15 states, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands, with the rates being higher for men than for women. The median prevalence of cigarette smoking was 25.5% among men (range: 14.6%–31.7%) and 21.5% among women (range: 12.1%–30.1%).
  • Cigarette smoking prevalence was highest in Kentucky (30.9%), Oklahoma (28.8%), West Virginia (28.2%), Ohio (27.7%), Indiana (27.5%), Nevada (27%), South Carolina (26.2%), and Alaska (26.1%).
  • Cigarette smoking prevalence was lowest in Utah (13.3%), California (17.2%), Massachusetts (19.7%), Idaho (19.7%), Nebraska (20.4%), Oregon (20.5%), Hawaii (20.6%), Connecticut (20.8%), and the District of Columbia (20.8%).
  • A change in current smoking prevalence from 1996 through 2001 was noted in nine states. Among the nine states for which changes in current smoking prevalence were found, Georgia showed a linear increase; Tennessee and Utah showed linear decreases, Hawaii experienced a non–linear decrease, Oklahoma experienced a non–linear increase, Minnesota and New Jersey experienced falling smoking prevalence and then increases, and South Dakota experienced an increase followed by a steady decline.
  • The pattern in North Dakota was more complex: observed rates showed a decrease from 1996 to 1998 followed by an increase through 2000 and a decline in 2001.
  • Among the 50 states and the District of Columbia, the proportion of some day smokers among current smokers ranged from 15.2% (in Kentucky) to 41.2% (in the District of Columbia); the median was 24%.
  • Between 1996 and 2001, the prevalence of current smoking was relatively stable in 41 states and the District of Columbia while the proportion of current smokers who were some day smokers increased significantly in 31 of those states and the District of Columbia.
  • Analysis of the combined data for 1996 through 2001 for all states indicated that the proportion of some day smokers among current smokers—
    • Was slightly higher among men (22.0% [21.8–22.7%] than women (21.1% [20.7–21.5%].
    • Decreased with age from 18–24 to 45–64. Those 18–24 years had a prevalence of 28.7.% [27.7–29.7], those 25– 44 years, 22.1% [21–22.5], and those 45–64 years, 17.6% [17.1–18.1]. Prevalence among those 65+ years was 20.3% [19.3–21.2].
    • Was higher among non–Hispanic blacks with prevalence of 26.9% [25.9–27.9%], and Hispanics who showed prevalence of 38.1% [36.5–39.8%], than non–Hispanic whites with prevalence of 18.7% [18.4–19.0%].
    • Was highest among those smokers having obtained a college education , 31.7% [30.9–32.5%], followed by those who completed <=8 years of education (24.2% [22.4–26.1%], with those who had at least some college education showing a prevalence of 23.2% [22.7–23.8%].
  • The patterns for sex, age, race, and ethnicity were generally the same across each state and the District of Columbia, regardless of whether the overall proportion of some day smokers among current smokers had increased in the state.
  • Factors that may have contributed to the shift in some day smoking include increased retail price of cigarettes and smoking bans in public places.
  • Data suggest that reductions in smoking do not reduce individual risk. Efforts to encourage complete cessation of smoking must be a priority for state and national programs.
 
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