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CDC: Smoking Rate Remains Constant Among U.S. Adults

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November 13, 2012 - Tobacco use remains the single largest preventable cause of death and disease in the United States. According to the 2010 U.S. Surgeon General's report, approximately 443,000 U.S. adults die from smoking-related illnesses each year. In addition, smoking has been estimated to cost the United States $96 billion in direct medical expenses and $97 billion in lost productivity annually.

To assess progress toward the Healthy People 2020 (HP2020) objective to reduce cigarette smoking by adults (objective TU-1.1), CDC's Office on Smoking and Health used data from the 2011 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) to estimate current national cigarette smoking prevalence. The findings indicate that 19.0% of adults smoked cigarettes in 2011 and no statistically significant change in current adult smoking prevalence occurred from 2010 (19.3%) to 2011 (19.0%).

Among daily smokers, the proportion who smoked ≥30 cigarettes per day (CPD) declined significantly, from 12.6% in 2005 to 9.1% in 2011, whereas the proportion of those who smoked 1–9 CPD increased significantly, from 16.4% to 22.0%.

To help reduce the national prevalence of cigarette smoking among adults to the HP2020 target of 12%, population-based prevention strategies (e.g., increasing prices of tobacco products, anti-tobacco media campaigns featuring graphic personal stories on the adverse health impact of smoking, smoke-free laws for workplaces and public places, and barrier-free access to help quitting) will need to be implemented more extensively. Such evidence-based tobacco control interventions can help adults quit and prevent the initiation of tobacco use.

The NHIS adult core questionnaire is administered by in-person interviews to a nationally representative sample of the noninstitutionalized, U.S. civilian population aged ≥18 years. The 2011 NHIS adult core sample included 33,014 respondents, and the overall response rate was 66.3%.

In 2011, an estimated 19.0% (43.8 million) of U.S. adults were current cigarette smokers. Of these, 77.8% (34.1 million) smoked every day, and 22.2% (9.7 million) smoked some days. Overall, among current smokers and those who had quit during the preceding year, 51.8% had made a quit attempt for >1 day during the preceding year.

Overall smoking prevalence did not change significantly from 2010 to 2011. Smoking prevalence in 2011 was 21.6% among males and 16.5% among females. By race/ethnicity, prevalence was lowest among non-Hispanic Asians (9.9%) and highest among non-Hispanic American Indians/Alaska Natives (31.5%). Prevalence was lowest among adults aged ≥65 years (7.9%) and highest among those aged 25–44 years (22.1%). Prevalence was higher among adults living below the federal poverty level (29.0%) compared with those living at or above this level (17.9%). Also, prevalence was higher among those reporting having a disability (25.4%) compared with those who reported no disability (17.3%).

During 2005–2011, a slight overall decline in current smoking prevalence was noted; the largest decline in current smoking prevalence occurred in adults aged 18–24 years (from 24.4% to 18.9%; p<0.05 for trend) (Figure 1). Among daily smokers, a significant decline in mean CPD was observed from 2005 (16.7) to 2011 (15.1) (p<0.05 for trend). The proportion of daily smokers who smoked ≥30 CPD declined significantly from 2005 (12.6%) to 2011 (9.1%). Meanwhile, a significant increase was observed in the proportion of daily smokers who smoked 1–9 CPD (from 16.4% to 22.0%; p<0.05 for trend) (Figure 2).

This information was reported in the CDC’s  Nov. 9 issue of the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.


Source: CDC.