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

Vital Signs: Current Cigarette Smoking Among Adults Aged ≥ 18 Years—United States, 2009

This page is archived for historical purposes and is no longer being updated.

September 10, 2010 / Vol. 59 / No. 35

MMWR Highlights

Although the number of adults who smoke in the United States has dropped over the last 30 years, very little has changed in recent years.

  • In 2005, about 20.9% of adults smoked cigarettes, and in 2009, about 20.6% smoked.

The burden of cigarette smoking continued to be high in 2009, especially among certain groups in the United States.

  • More men (23.5%) than women (17.9%) smoked.
  • An estimated 29.5% of multiracial adults and 23.2% of American Indian/Alaska Native adults smoked.
  • Smoking was higher among people with a lower education level. For example, 26.4% of U.S. adults who did not receive a high school diploma and 49.1% of U.S. adults who have a GED smoked, whereas only 5.6% of people with a graduate degree smoked.
  • An estimated 31.1% of people living below the poverty level smoked.

In 2009, states and regions in the United States had different smoking rates.

  • The state with the lowest smoking rate was Utah (9.8%).
  • The states with the highest smoking rates were Kentucky (25.6%) and West Virginia (25.6%).
  • When looking at smoking rates in U.S. regions, fewer people smoked in the West (16.4%) and more people smoked in the South (21.8%) and Midwest (23.1%).

More needs to be done to reduce the prevalence of cigarette smoking and reduce smoking-related disease and death.

  • Population- and evidence-based strategies such as price increases, comprehensive smoke-free policies, and countering tobacco industry influence need to be aggressively implemented in coordination with providing access to affordable and effective cessation treatments and services.
  • Full implementation of comprehensive tobacco control policies and programs at CDC-recommended levels of funding is required to further reduce the current prevalence of smoking across the lifespan.