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Current Cigarette Smoking Among Adults in the United States

Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of preventable disease and death in the United States, accounting for more than 480,000 deaths every year, or about 1 in 5 deaths.1

In 2016, more than 15 of every 100 U.S. adults aged 18 years or older (15.5%) currently* smoked cigarettes. This means an estimated 37.8 million adults in the United States currently smoke cigarettes.2 More than 16 million Americans live with a smoking-related disease.1

Current smoking has declined from 20.9% (nearly 21 of every 100 adults) in 2005 to 15.5% (more than 15 of every 100 adults) in 2016. The proportion of ever smokers who had quit increased; however, current smoking prevalence did not change significantly during 2015-2016.2

*Current smokers are defined as persons who reported smoking at least 100 cigarettes during their lifetime and who, at the time they participated in a survey about this topic, reported smoking every day or some days.


Current Smoking Among Adults in 2016 (Nation)

By Gender2

Men were more likely to be current cigarette smokers than women.

  • Nearly 18 of every 100 adult men (17.5%)
  • Nearly 14 of every 100 adult women (13.5%)

By Age2

Current cigarette smoking was higher among persons aged 18–24 years, 25–44 years, and 45–64 years than among those aged 65 years and older.

  • About 13 of every 100 adults aged 18–24 years (13.1%)
  • Nearly 18 of every 100 adults aged 25–44 years (17.6%)
  • 18 of every 100 adults aged 45–64 years (18.0%)
  • Nearly 9 of every 100 adults aged 65 years and older (8.8%)

By Race/Ethnicity2

Current cigarette smoking was highest among non-Hispanic American Indians/Alaska Natives and people of multiple races and lowest among Asians.

  • Nearly 32 of every 100 non-Hispanic American Indians/Alaska Natives (31.8%)
  • About 25 of every 100 non-Hispanic multiple race individuals (25.2%)
  • Nearly 17 of every 100 non-Hispanic Blacks (16.5%)
  • Nearly 17 of every 100 non-Hispanic Whites (16.6%)
  • Nearly 11 of every 100 Hispanics (10.7%)
  • 9 of every 100 non-Hispanic Asians* (9.0%)

*Non-Hispanic Asians does not include Native Hawaiians or Other Pacific Islanders.


Cigarette smoking overall among adults in the U.S. is down. Yet cigarette smoking remains high among certain populations: Low education; males; young adults; south and midwest; lesbians, gays and bisexuals; below poverty level; disabled; certain races/ethnicities.  We can put an end to tobacco use.  Implement smoke free laws. Raise tobacco prices. Increase funding for tobacco control programs.

Cigarette Smoking Overall Among Adults In The U.S. Is Down
Larger infographic

By Education2

Current cigarette smoking was highest among persons with a graduate education degree certificate (GED) and lowest among those with a graduate degree.

  • About 24 of every 100 adults with 12 or fewer years of education (no diploma) (24.1%)
  • Nearly 41 of every 100 adults with a GED certificate (40.6%)
  • Nearly 20 of every 100 adults with a high school diploma (19.7%)
  • Nearly 19 of every 100 adults with some college (no degree) (18.9%)
  • Nearly 17 of every 100 adults with an associate’s degree (16.8%)
  • Nearly 8 of every 100 adults with an undergraduate degree (7.7%)
  • Nearly 5 of every 100 adults with a graduate degree (4.5%)

By Poverty Status2

Current cigarette smoking was higher among persons living below the poverty* level than those living at or above this level.

  • About 25 of every 100 adults who live below the poverty level (25.3%)
  • About 14 of every 100 adults who live at or above the poverty level (14.3%)

*Poverty thresholds are based on U.S. Census Bureau data.

By U.S. Census Region2

Current cigarette smoking was highest in the Midwest and lowest in the West.

  • Nearly 19 of every 100 adults who live in the Midwest (18.5%)
  • Nearly 17 of every 100 adults who live in the South (16.9%)
  • About 13 of every 100 adults who live in the Northeast (13.3%)
  • About 12 of every 100 adults who live in the West (12.3%)

By Disability/Limitation2

Current cigarette smoking was higher among persons with a disability/limitation than among those with no disability/limitation.

  • About 21 of every 100 adults who reported having a disability/limitation (21.2%)
  • About 14 of every 100 adults who reported having no disability/limitation (14.4%)

By Sexual Orientation2

Lesbian/gay/bisexual adults were more likely to be current smokers than straight adults.

  • Nearly 21 of every 100 lesbian/gay/bisexual adults (20.5%)
  • About 15 of every 100 straight adults (15.3%)

By Serious Psychological Distress*2

Adults that had experienced serious psychological distress were more likely to be current smokers than adults that did not report serious psychological distress.

  • Nearly 36 of every 100 adults with serious psychological distress (35.8%)
  • Nearly 15 of every 100 adults without serious psychological distress (14.7%)

*Measures of serious psychological distress are based on the Kessler psychological distress scale.

Current Smoking Among Adults in 2016 (States)

  • In 2016, current smoking ranged from nearly 9 of every 100 adults in Utah (8.8%) to nearly 25 of every 100 adults in West Virginia (24.8%).3

Current Cigarette Use Among Adults (Behavior Risk Factor Surveillance System) 2016. Map of the United states and territories color coded by percentages. figures represent the percentage of the population who are current smokers.

The figure presents the percentage of adults in each state who were current smokers in 2016.3

Note: These data are periodically updated on the following CDC Web sites:

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 2018 Feb 22].
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Current Cigarette Smoking Among Adults—United States, 2016. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 2018;67(2):53-9 [accessed 2018 Feb 22].
  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. State Tobacco Activities Tracking & Evaluation (STATE) System. Map of Current Cigarette Use Among Adults (Behavior Risk Factor Surveillance System) 2016 [accessed 2018 Feb 22].

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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