Skip directly to search Skip directly to A to Z list Skip directly to navigation Skip directly to page options Skip directly to site content

Cigarette Smoking Among Adults and Trends in Smoking Cessation—United States, 2008

This page is archived for historical purposes and is no longer being updated.

November 13, 2009 / Vol. 58 / No. 44

MMWR Highlights

  • In 2008, an estimated 20.6% (46.0 million) of U.S. adults were current cigarette smokers; of these, 79.8% (36.7 million) smoked every day, and 20.2% (9.3 million) smoked some days.
  • Over the past decade there was a 3.5% decline in the proportion of U.S. adults who were current cigarette smokers (20.6% in 2008 compared to 24.1% in 1998). However, the proportion did not change significantly from 2007 (19.8%) to 2008 (20.6%).
  • In 2008, smoking prevalence was higher among men (23.1%) than women (18.3%).
  • Smoking prevalence was highest among adults who had earned a General Educational Development (GED) certificate (41.3%) and those with 9–11 years of education (35.7%) and lowest among adults with a graduate degree (5.7%).
  • Among the different racial/ethnic groups, Asians (9.9%) had the lowest smoking prevalence while American Indians and Alaska Natives (32.4%) had significantly higher prevalence than the other racial/ethnic groups. Smoking prevalence among whites (22%) and blacks (21.3%) was significantly higher than among Hispanics (15.8%).
  • Smoking prevalence was lowest among those 65 years and older (9.3%) compared to those 18–24 years (21.4%), 25–44 years (23.7%) and 45–64 years (22.6%).
  • Smoking was higher among adults living below the federal poverty level (31.5%) than among those at or above this level (19.6%).
  • Subpopulations who meet the Healthy People 2010 objective to reduce the prevalence of adult cigarette smoking to 12% or less include: Hispanic (10.7%) and Asian (4.7%) women, women with undergraduate degrees (9.7%), women with graduate degrees (5.9%), and women aged 65 years and older (8.4%). Men with graduate degrees (5.6%), men with undergraduate degrees (11.5%) and men aged 65 years and older (10.6%) also met this goal.

Quit Attempts

  • In 2008, quit ratios were lowest for adults 25 years and older with a GED (39.9%), adults with no high school diploma (45.7%), and adults with a high school diploma (48.8%). The overall quit ratio for adults was 53.8%.
  • In 2008, 45.3% (20.8 million) adult current everyday smokers had stopped smoking for more than one day in the past 12 months because they were trying to quit.
  • Among the estimated 94 million ever smokers, persons who had smoked at least 100 cigarettes during their lifetimes, 51.1% (48.1 million) were no longer smoking at the time of the interview.