Smoking Cessation: Fast Facts

Tobacco use can lead to tobacco dependence and serious health problems. Quitting smoking greatly reduces the risk of developing smoking-related diseases.1

Tobacco/nicotine dependence is a condition that often requires repeated treatments, but there are helpful treatments and resources for quitting.1

Smokers can and do quit smoking for good. In fact, since 2002 there have been more former smokers than current smokers.1

U.S. Adult Smoking Cessation Behaviors

Photo of a jogger with the caption: Quitting Smoking is a Marathon, Not a Sprint

Most adult cigarette smokers want to quit.1

  • In 2015, 68.0% of adult smokers (22.7 million) said that they wanted to quit smoking.2

More than half of adult cigarette smokers report having made a quit attempt in the past year.1

  • In 2018, 55.1% of adult smokers (21.5 million) said that they had made a quit attempt in the past year.3

Fewer than one in ten adult cigarette smokers succeed in quitting each year.1

  • In 2018, 7.5% of adult smokers (2.9 million) successfully quit smoking in the past year.3

Four out of every nine adult cigarette smokers who saw a health professional during the past year did not receive advice to quit.1

  • In 2015, 57.2% of adult smokers (18.8 million) who had seen a health professional in the past year reported receiving advice to quit.2
  • Even brief advice to quit (<3 minutes) from a physician improves cessation rates and is highly cost-effective.1

Less than one-third of adult cigarette smokers use cessation counseling or medications approved for cessation by the Food and Drug Administration when trying to quit smoking.1

  • In 2015, 31.2% of adult smokers (7.6 million) reported using counseling or medication when trying to quit.2
  • In 2015, 6.8% of adult smokers (1.7 million) reported using counseling, 29.0% (7.1 million) reported using medication, and 4.7% (1.1 million) reported using both counseling and medication when trying to quit.2

More than three out of five adults who have ever smoked cigarettes have quit.1

  • In 2018, 61.7% of adult smokers (55.0 million adults) who ever smoked had quit.3

U.S. Youth Tobacco Cessation Behaviors

About two-thirds of youth tobacco users report wanting to quit, and nearly two-thirds report trying to quit in the past year.4

  • In 2021, 65.3% of youth (middle and high school students) who currently used tobacco products reported that they were seriously thinking about quitting the use of all tobacco products.4
  • In 2021, 60.2% of youth who currently used tobacco products reported that they had stopped using all tobacco products for one day or longer in the past year because they were trying to quit.4
  1. Department of Health and Human Services. Smoking Cessation. A Report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta, GA: 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, 2020 [accessed 2020 May 21].
  2. Babb S, Malarcher A, Schauer G, Asman K, Jamal A. Quitting Smoking Among Adults—United States, 2000–2015. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 2017;65(52):1457-64 [accessed 2020 May 21].
  3. Creamer MR, Wang TW, Babb S, et al. Tobacco Product Use and Cessation Indicators Among Adults — United States, 2018. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2019;68:1013–1019 [accessed 2020 May 21].
  4. Gentzke AS, Wang TW, Cornelius M, Park-Lee E, Ren C, Sawdey MD, Cullen KA, Loretan C, Jamal A, Homa DM. Tobacco Product Use and Associated Factors Among Middle and High School Students – National Youth Tobacco Survey, United States, 2021. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 2022; 71(No. SS-5):1–29.