U.S. Adult Smoking Rate Drops to Lowest Level on Record

Thursday, December 04, 2014
(graphic: Steve Straehley, AllGov)

The percentage of adult Americans smoking these days has fallen to its lowest level on record, according to research published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).


Only 17.8% of U.S. adults smoked last year, the CDC found. That’s the lowest rate since the government began keeping track of the behavior in 1965. The actual number of smokers in 2013 was 42.1 million.


Despite fewer people smoking, the habit continues to be the leading cause of premature death in the country, the Los Angeles Times reported. Smoking kills 480,000 Americans each year and results in $289 billion in annual health costs and lost productivity, the CDC reported.


Other trends discovered by researchers: those who do smoke are smoking less often each day and fewer cigarettes. In 2005, 80.8% of smokers said they puffed daily. That rate fell to 76.9% by 2013. Seven years ago, daily smokers lit up an average of 16.7 cigarettes per day. By last year, that number had declined to 14.2.


The CDC, as part of its Healthy People 2020 program, wants to see the smoking rate fall even further, to 12%, by the end of this decade.

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

CDC: Fewer than 18% of American Adults Smoke Cigarettes, a New Low (by Karen Kaplan, Los Angeles)

Current Cigarette Smoking Among Adults — United States, 2005–2013 (by Ahmed Jamal, Israel T. Agaku, Erin O’Connor, Brian A. King, John B. Kenemer and Linda Neff, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

With 1,200 Deaths a Day, Tobacco Companies Finally Agree to Publish Ads Admitting They Lied about Dangers of Smoking (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)


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