Quitting Smoking Among Adults—United States, 2000-2015

January 6, 2017 / Vol. 65 / No. 52

MMWR Introduction

To assess progress toward the Healthy People 2020 objectives of increasing the proportion of U.S. adults who attempt to quit smoking cigarettes to ≥80.0% (TU-4.1), and increasing recent smoking cessation success to ≥8.0% (TU-5.1), CDC assessed national estimates of cessation behaviors among adults aged ≥18 years using data from the 2000, 2005, 2010, and 2015 National Health Interview Surveys (NHIS). During 2015, 68.0% of adult smokers wanted to stop smoking, 55.4% made a past-year quit attempt, 7.4% recently quit smoking, 57.2% had been advised by a health professional to quit, and 31.2% used cessation counseling and/or medication when trying to quit. During 2000–2015, increases occurred in the proportion of smokers who reported a past-year quit attempt, recently quit smoking, were advised to quit by a health professional, and used cessation counseling and/or medication when trying to quit. As of 2015, among adults who had ever smoked, 59.1% (52.8 million) had quit.

To further increase cessation, health care providers can consistently identify smokers, advise them to quit, and offer them cessation treatments. In addition, health insurers can increase cessation by covering and promoting evidence-based treatments and removing barriers to treatment access. Funding state tobacco control programs, including state quitlines, at CDC-recommended levels, increasing tobacco prices, implementing comprehensive smoke-free policies, conducting anti-tobacco media campaigns, and enhancing access to quitting assistance can increase tobacco cessation and reduce tobacco-related disease and death.

MMWR Highlights

Prevalence of interest in quitting smoking among adult smokers aged >18 years, by selected characteristics, 2015.

  • 66.7% of men and 69.4% of women expressed an interest in quitting smoking.
  • 62.3% of those 18-24 years old, 72.7% of those 25-44 years old, 68.7% of those 45-64 years old, and 53.7% of those 65 and older expressed an interest in quitting smoking.
  • 67.5% of whites, 72.8% of blacks, 67.4% of Hispanics, 55.6% of American Indian/Alaska Native, 69.6% of Asians, and 59.8% of multi-race adults expressed an interest in quitting smoking.
  • 68.0% of those with <12 years of education, 65.7% of those with a GED certificate, 65.5% of those with a high school diploma, 70.2% of those with some college but no degree, 70.6% of those with an Associate degree, 73.3% of those with an undergraduate degree, and 74.0% of those with a graduate degree expressed an interest in quitting smoking.
  • 68.2% of those at or above the poverty level and 67.3% of those below the poverty level expressed an interest in quitting smoking.
  • 74.5% of those in the Northeast Census region, 67.1% of those in the Midwest Census region, 67.2% of those in the South Census region, and 65.5% of those in the West Census region expressed an interest in quitting smoking.
  • 69.0% of those with private insurance, 69.2% of those with Medicaid and dual eligible, 40.6% of those with Medicare-Advantage, 53.0% of those with Medicare only, 63.6% of those with other coverage, and 69.5% of those uninsured expressed an interest in quitting smoking.
  • 66.4% of those with a disability/limitation and 66.8% of those with no disability/limitation expressed an interest in quitting smoking.
  • 67.4% of those with serious psychological distress and 68.2% of those without serious psychological distress expressed an interest in quitting smoking.
  • 68.1% of straight adults and 66.7% of gay/lesbian/bisexual adults expressed an interest in quitting smoking.

Prevalence of past year quit attempt among adult smokers aged >18 years, by selected characteristics, 2015.

  • 55.3% of men and 55.6% of women made a past year quit attempt.
  • 66.7% of those 18-24 years old, 59.8% of those 25-44 years old, 49.6% of those 45-64 years old, and 47.2% of those 65 and older made a past year quit attempt.
  • 53.3% of whites, 63.4% of blacks, 56.2% of Hispanics, 52.1% of American Indian/Alaska Native, 69.4% of Asians, and 57.8% of multi-race adults made a past year quit attempt.
  • 50.4% of those with <12 years of education, 48.1% of those with a GED certificate, 52.2% of those with a high school diploma, 57.8% of those with some college but no degree, 57.4% of those with an Associate degree, 57.6% of those with an undergraduate degree, and 55.8% of those with a graduate degree made a past year quit attempt.
  • 55.5% of those at or above the poverty level and 55.2% of those below the poverty level made a past year quit attempt.
  • 58.8% of those in the Northeast Census region, 54.0% of those in the Midwest Census region, 54.3% of those in the South Census region, and 56.9% of those in the West Census region made a past year quit attempt.
  • 57.2% of those with private insurance, 56.3% of those with Medicaid and dual eligible, 42.6% of those with Medicare-Advantage, 42.0% of those with Medicare only, 50.7% of those with other coverage, and 53.5% of those uninsured made a past year quit attempt.
  • 55.1% of those with a disability/limitation and 56.3% of those with no disability/limitation made a past year quit attempt.
  • 53.0% of those with serious psychological distress and 55.5% of those without serious psychological distress made a past year quit attempt.
  • 55.4% of straight adults and 48.4% of gay/lesbian/bisexual adults made a past year quit attempt.

Prevalence of recent smoking cessation among adult smokers aged >18 years, by selected characteristics, 2015.

  • 7.2% of men and 7.6% of women recently quit smoking.
  • 9.9% of those 18-24 years old, 8.9% of those 25-44 years old, 5.7% of those 45-64 years old, and 5.4% of those 65 and older recently quit smoking.
  • 7.1% of whites, 4.9% of blacks, 8.2% of Hispanics, and 17.3% of Asians recently quit smoking.
  • 4.4% of those with <12 years of education, 6.8% of those with a high school diploma, 7.2% of those with some college but no degree, 9.2% of those with an Associate degree, 11.2% of those with an undergraduate degree, and 10.8% of those with a graduate degree recently quit smoking.
  • 7.9% of those at or above the poverty level and 5.6% of those below the poverty level recently quit smoking.
  • 8.6% of those in the Northeast Census region, 6.4% of those in the Midwest Census region, 7.6% of those in the South Census region, and 7.6% of those in the West Census region recently quit smoking.
  • 9.4% of those with private insurance, 5.9% of those with Medicaid and dual eligible, 5.5% of those with other coverage, and 5.2% of those uninsured recently quit smoking.
  • 5.8% of those with a disability/limitation and 7.9% of those with no disability/limitation recently quit smoking.
  • 8.1% of those without serious psychological distress recently quit smoking.
  • 7.6% of straight adults recently quit smoking.

Prevalence of receiving a health professional’s advice to quit smoking among adult smokers aged >18 years, by selected characteristics, 2015.

  • 55.2% of men and 59.3% of women received a health professional’s advice to quit smoking.
  • 44.4% of those aged 18-24, 49.8% of those aged 25-44, 65.7% of those aged 44-64, and 65.7% of those aged 65 and older received a health professional’s advice to quit smoking.
  • 60.2% of whites, 55.7% of blacks, 42.2% of Hispanics, 38.1% of American Indian/Alaska Natives, 34.2% of Asians, and 69.6% of multiple race adults received a health professional’s advice to quit smoking.
  • 60.8% of those with <12 years of education, 61.6% of those with a GED certificate, 58.1% of those with a high school diploma, 59.1% of those with some college education, 61.6% of those with an Associate degree, 52.6% of those with an undergraduate degree, and 57.7% of those with a graduate degree received a health professional’s advice to quit smoking.
  • 57.8% of those at or above the poverty level and 54.7% of those below the poverty level received a health professional’s advice to quit smoking.
  • 65.1% of those in the Northeast Census region, 60.0% of those in the Midwest Census region, 55.2% of those in the South Census region, and 50.6% of those in the West Census region received a health professional’s advice to quit smoking.
  • 56.8% of those with private insurance, 59.9% of those enrolled in Medicaid (including persons with dual Medicaid/Medicare eligibility), 66.6% of those with Medicare-Advantage, 62.0% of those with Medicare only, 69.2% of those with other coverage, and 44.1% of those without health insurance received a health professional’s advice to quit smoking.
  • 71.8% of those with a disability/limitation and 53.6% of those with no disability/limitation received a health professional’s advice to quit smoking.
  • 70.2% of those with serious psychological distress and 55.7% of those with no serious psychological distress received a health professional’s advice to quit smoking.
  • 57.1% of straight and 57.7% of gay/lesbian/bisexual adults received a health professional’s advice to quit smoking.

Prevalence of using counseling and/or medication to quit smoking among adult smokers aged >18 years, by selected characteristics, 2015.

  • 29.1% of men and 33.6% of women used counseling and/or medication to quit smoking.
  • 16.8% of those aged 18-24, 27.4% of those aged 25-44, 40.2% of those aged 44-64, and 37.0% of those aged 65 and older used counseling and/or medication to quit smoking.
  • 34.3% of whites, 28.9% of blacks, 19.2% of Hispanics, 20.5% of Asians, and 24.6% of multiple race adults used counseling and/or medication to quit smoking.
  • 28.7% of those with <12 years of education, 31.4% of those with a GED certificate, 33.1% of those with a high school diploma, 34.6% of those with some college education, 36.0% of those with an Associate degree, 35.1% of those with an undergraduate degree, and 35.9% of those with a graduate degree used counseling and/or medication to quit smoking.
  • 31.7% of those at or above the poverty level and 29.0% of those below the poverty level used counseling and/or medication to quit smoking.
  • 37.6% of those in the Northeast Census region, 30.2% of those in the Midwest Census region, 29.3% of those in the South Census region, and 30.7% of those in the West Census region used counseling and/or medication to quit smoking.
  • 32.1% of those with private insurance, 34.5% of those enrolled in Medicaid (including persons with dual Medicaid/Medicare eligibility), 31.6% of those with Medicare-Advantage, 35.9% of those with Medicare only, 36.0% of those with other coverage, and 21.4% of those without health insurance used counseling and/or medication to quit smoking.
  • 39.0% of those with a disability/limitation and 28.5% of those with no disability/limitation used counseling and/or medication to quit smoking.
  • 41.6% of those with serious psychological distress and 30.1% of those with no serious psychological distress used counseling and/or medication to quit smoking.
  • 31.7% of straight and 14.5% of gay/lesbian/bisexual adults used counseling and/or medication to quit smoking.
Page last reviewed: March 9, 2018 (archived document)