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Current Cigarette Smoking Among Adults—United States, 2005–2012

January 17, 2014 / Vol. 63 / No. 02

MMWR Introduction


To assess progress made toward the Healthy People 2020 objective of reducing the proportion of US adults who smoke cigarettes to ≤12%, this report provides the most recent national estimates of smoking prevalence among adults aged ≥18 years, based on data from the 2012 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS). NHIS is an annual, nationally representative, in-person survey of the non-institutionalized US civilian population. Questions about cigarette smoking are directed to one randomly selected adult from each surveyed family.

The findings indicate that the proportion of US adults who smoke cigarettes fell to 18.1% in 2012. Moreover, during 2005–2012, the percentage of ever smokers who quit increased significantly, from 50.7% to 55.0%, and the proportion of daily smokers who smoked ≥30 cigarettes per day (CPD) declined significantly, from 12.6% to 7.0%.

The decline in overall smoking prevalence from 20.9% in 2005 to 18.1% in 2012 is encouraging and likely reflects the success of tobacco control efforts across the country. However, given the slowing decline in adult smoking in recent years, continued implementation of evidence-based interventions outlined in the World Health Organization MPOWER package is critical. These include increasing the price of tobacco products, putting into action and enforcing comprehensive smoke-free laws, warning about the dangers of tobacco use with antismoking media campaigns, and increasing access to help quitting. Such population-based interventions have been shown to reduce population smoking prevalence.