Where There's Smoke

Report on smoking trends and tobacco smoke exposure

Who is smoking?

Cigarette smoking remains the leading cause of preventable disease, disability, and death in the United States, accounting for more than 480,000 deaths every year, or about 1 in 5 deaths [1]U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Health Consequences of Smoking—50 Years of Progress: A Report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, … Continue reading.

In 2019, nearly 14 of every 100 U.S. adults aged 18 years or older (14.0%) currently* smoked cigarettes. This means an estimated 34.1 million adults in the United States currently smoke cigarettes. More than 16 million Americans live with a smoking-related disease [2]U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Health Consequences of Smoking—50 Years of Progress: A Report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, … Continue reading.

As of 2019, about 34 million US adults smoke cigarettes. Each day, about 2,000 young people under age 18 smoke their first cigarette, and more than 300 become daily cigarette smokers. As of 2018, prevalence rates show that smoking was generally higher in males than females across all products examined. Over 16 million people live with at least one disease caused by smoking, and 58 million nonsmoking Americans are exposed to SHS[3]Cornelius ME, Wang TW, Jamal A, Loretan C, Neff L. Tobacco Product Use Among Adults – United States, 2019. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 2020. Volume 69(issue 46); pages 1736–1742. … Continue reading.

Based on a 2018 CDC Map of Current Cigarette Use, current smoking rates in the United States range from 8.9% (Utah) and up, with high rates of 26.5% in Guam, and 25.2% in West Virginia. While the current US average is at 14.7%, at least 13 states have smoking rates that exceed 20% April 8, 2019

[4]Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. State Tobacco Activities Tracking & Evaluation (STATE) System. Map of Current Cigarette Use Among Adults (Behavior Risk Factor Surveillance System) … Continue reading.

The use of tobacco products varies with gender, age, education, and culture. The prevalence of smoking has always been higher in men than in women.

Overall, current smoking has declined from 20.9% (nearly 21 of every 100 adults) in 2005 to 14.0% (14 of every 100 adults) in 2019, and the proportion of ever smokers who have quit has increased [5]Cornelius ME, Wang TW, Jamal A, Loretan C, Neff L. Tobacco Product Use Among Adults – United States, 2019. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 2020. Volume 69(issue 46); pages 1736–1742. … Continue reading.

Comparably, in 1965, 51.9% of adult men smoked, compared with 33.9% of women. Smoking prevalence peaked at 67% for men in the 1940s and 1950s and 44% for women in the 1960s. By 2001, smoking prevalence had declined to 24.9% for men and 20.6% for women. However, smoking increased in the 18-to-24 age group during the 1990s, reaching a peak in 1997, while prevalence continued to decrease in the 25-to-44 age group. [6]Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Current cigarette smoking among adults – United States, 2011. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2012; 61:889–894.

 Adult Per Capita Cigarette Consumption and Major Smoking
& Health Events – US, 1900-2012

[7]The Health Consequences of Smoking—50 Years of Progress: A Report of the Surgeon General. Figure 2.1, Adult* per capita cigarette consumption and major smoking and health events, United States, … Continue reading.

The graph above reflects the environmental and historical impact on cigarette consumption nationally from 1900-2012. A general downward trend in tobacco use started around the landmark 1964 Report of the Advisory Committee to the Surgeon General of the United States, which implicated smoking as the cause of lung cancer as well as other diseases. Other events that marked lower smoking rates include:

  • In the 1960s, John Banzhaf led efforts to use the Fairness Doctrine (for every tobacco broadcast ad aired, a counter ad was also to be aired), which preceded a broadcast ban on cigarette ads in 1970.
  • Nonsmokers’ rights initiatives were growing in the 1970s.
  • New stop smoking nicotine medications became available to help smokers quit tobacco use.
  • Smoking restrictions became more common in the 1980s and helped lead to a subsequent ban on smoking on airlines.
  • The Master Settlement Agreement.
  • The Affordable Care Act, combined with the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, increased access to smoking cessation resources.

References

References
1 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Health Consequences of Smoking—50 Years of Progress: A Report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health, 2014 [accessed 2019 Jan 30]
2 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Health Consequences of Smoking—50 Years of Progress: A Report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health, 2014 [accessed 2019 Jan 30]
3 Cornelius ME, Wang TW, Jamal A, Loretan C, Neff L. Tobacco Product Use Among Adults – United States, 2019. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 2020. Volume 69(issue 46); pages 1736–1742. [accessed 2020 November 19]
4 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. State Tobacco Activities Tracking & Evaluation (STATE) System. Map of Current Cigarette Use Among Adults (Behavior Risk Factor Surveillance System) 2018 [accessed 2020 Nov 12]
5 Cornelius ME, Wang TW, Jamal A, Loretan C, Neff L. Tobacco Product Use Among Adults – United States, 2019. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 2020. Volume 69(issue 46); pages 1736–1742. [accessed 2020 November 19]
6 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Current cigarette smoking among adults – United States, 2011. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2012; 61:889–894.
7 The Health Consequences of Smoking—50 Years of Progress: A Report of the Surgeon General. Figure 2.1, Adult* per capita cigarette consumption and major smoking and health events, United States, 1900–2012. 2014