Current Cigarette Smoking Among Adults in the United States

Cigarette smoking remains 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 2019, nearly 14 of every 100 U.S. adults aged 18 years or older (14.0%) currently* smoked cigarettes. This means an estimated 34.1 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 14.0% (14 of every 100 adults) in 2019, and the proportion of ever smokers who have quit has increased.2

*Current smokers are defined as people 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 2019 (Nation)

By Sex2

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

  • About 15 of every 100 adult men (15.3%)
  • Nearly 13 of every 100 adult women (12.7%)

By Age2

Current cigarette smoking was highest among people aged 25–44 years and 45–64 years. Current cigarette smoking was lowest among people aged 18-24 years.

  • 8 of every 100 adults aged 18–24 years (8.0%)
  • Nearly 17 of every 100 adults aged 25–44 years (16.7%)
  • 17 of every 100 adults aged 45–64 years (17.0%)
  • About 8 of every 100 adults aged 65 years and older (8.2%)
Cigarette Smoking is Down, but about 34 million American Adults Still Smoke

Cigarette Smoking is Down, but about 34 million American Adults Still Smoke

By Race/Ethnicity2

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

  • Nearly 21 of every 100 non-Hispanic American Indians/Alaska Natives (20.9%)
  • Nearly 20 of every 100 non-Hispanic Other races* (19.7%)
  • Nearly 16 of every 100 non-Hispanic Whites (15.5%)
  • Nearly 15 of every 100 non-Hispanic Blacks (14.9%)
  • Nearly 9 of every 100 Hispanics (8.8%)
  • About 7 of every 100 non-Hispanic Asians** (7.2%)

* Non-Hispanic Other includes persons who were categorized as Non-Hispanic American Indian, Alaska Native and any other group or other single and multiple race person.

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

By Education2

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

  • About 35 of every 100 adults with a GED certificate (35.3%)
  • Nearly 22 of every 100 adults with some high school (no degree) (21.6%)
  • Nearly 20 of every 100 adults with a high school diploma (19.6%)
  • Nearly 18 of every 100 adults with some college (no degree) (17.7%)
  • 14 of every 100 adults with an Associate’s degree (14.0%)
  • Nearly 7 of every 100 adults with an undergraduate degree (6.9%)
  • 4 of every 100 adults with a graduate degree (4.0%)

By Annual Household Income2

Current cigarette smoking was higher among people with a low annual household income than those with higher annual household incomes.

  • About 21 of every 100 adults with an annual household income less than $35,000 (21.4%)
  • Nearly 16 of every 100 adults with an annual household income of $35,000 to $74,999 (15.7%)
  • About 11 of every 100 adults with an annual household income of $75,000 to $99,999 (11.4%)
  • About 7 of every 100 adults with an annual household income greater than $100,000 (7.1%)

By U.S. Census Region2

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

  • About 16 of every 100 adults who live in the Midwest (16.4%)
  • About 15 of every 100 adults who live in the South (15.4%)
  • Nearly 13 of every 100 adults who live in the Northeast (12.8%)
  • About 10 of every 100 adults who live in the West (10.4%)

By Marital Status2

Current cigarette smoking was highest among persons who were divorced/separated or widowed and lowest among those who were married/living with a partner.

  • 19 of every 100 adults who were divorced/separated/widowed (19.0%)
  • Nearly 15 of every 100 adults who were single/never married/not living with a partner (14.6%)
  • About 12 of every 100 adults who were married/living with a partner (12.4%)

By Sexual Orientation2

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

  • About 19 of every 100 lesbian/gay/bisexual adults (19.2%)
  • Nearly 14 of every 100 heterosexual/straight adults (13.8%)

By Health Insurance Coverage2

Current smoking was highest in uninsured adults and adults with Medicaid and lowest in adults with Medicare only.

  • Nearly 25 of every 100 adults who had Medicaid (24.9%)
  • Nearly 23 of every 100 adults who were uninsured (22.5%)
  • Nearly 18 of every 100 adults who had other public insurance (17.8%)
  • Nearly 11 of every 100 adults with private insurance (10.7%)
  • Nearly 9 of every 100 adults with Medicare only (8.6%)

By Disability/Limitation2

Adults with a disability/limitation were more likely to be current smokers than those without.

  • About 21 of every 100 adults with a disability/limitation (21.1%)
  • About 13 of every 100 adults without a disability/limitation (13.3%)

By Generalized Anxiety Disorder*2

Adults who had experienced severe anxiety were more likely to be current smokers than adults who did not report or experienced minimal anxiety.

  • Nearly 35 of every 100 adults with severe anxiety (34.5%)
  • 12 of every 100 adults with no or minimal anxiety (12.0%)

*Measures of anxiety are based on the 7-item Generalized Anxiety Disorder scale (GAD-7).

Current Smoking Among Adults in 2018 (States)

  • In 2018, current smoking ranged from nearly 9 of every 100 adults in Utah (9.0%) to 25 of every 100 adults in West Virginia (25.2%).3

The figure presents the percentage of adults in each state who were current smokers in 2018.3

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 2019 Jan 30].
  2. Cornelius ME, Wang TW, Jamal A, Loretan C, Neff L. Tobacco Product Use Among Adults – United States, 2019. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 2020. Volume 69(issue 46); pages 1736–1742. [accessed 2020 November 19].
  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) 2018 [accessed 2020 Nov 12].

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.