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Adult Cigarette Smoking in the United States: Current Estimates

Fact sheet

May 2004


Cigarette smoking remains the leading preventable cause of death in the United States, accounting for approximately 1 of every 5 deaths (440,000 people) each year.1,2

National Estimates

  • An estimated, 22.5% of all adults (46 million people) smoke cigarettes in the United States.3
     
  • Cigarette smoking estimates by age are as follows: 18–24 years (28.5%), 25–44 years (25.7%), 45–64 years (22.7%), and 65 years or older (9.3%).3
     
  • Cigarette smoking is more common among men (25.2%) than women (20.0%).3
     
  • Prevalence of cigarette smoking is highest among American Indians/Alaska Natives (40.8%), followed by whites (23.6%), African Americans (22.4%), Hispanics (16.7%), and Asians [excluding Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders] (13.3%).3
     
  • Cigarette smoking estimates are highest for adults with a General Education Development (GED) diploma (42.3%) or 9-11 years of education (34.1%), and lowest for adults with an undergraduate college degree (12.1%) or a graduate college degree (7.2%).3
     
  • Cigarette smoking is more common among adults who live below the poverty level (32.9%) than among those living at or above the poverty level (22.2%).3

State Estimates

  • In 2002, the state estimates for cigarette smoking varied widely, ranging from 12.7% in Utah and 16.4% in California, to 32.6% in Kentucky and 29.4% in Alaska.4
     
  • The highest state estimates for cigarette smoking among men were in Kentucky (34.8%) and Mississippi (33.2%); the lowest estimates were in Utah (14.2%) and California (19.7%).4
     
  • The highest estimates for cigarette smoking among women were in Kentucky (30.5%) and West Virginia (27.2%); the lowest estimates were in Utah (11.3%) and California (13.3%).4

References

  1. CDC. Annual smoking-attributable mortality, years of potential life lost, and economic costs—United States, 1995–1999. (PDF Image PDF - 220k) Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 2002;51(14):300–303. Accessed: May 2004.
     
  2. CDC. National Center for Health Statistics; Health, United States, 2003 With Chartbook on Trends in the Health of Americans.(PDF Image PDF - 117k)  Hyattsville, MD: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, CDC, 2003:141. Accessed: May 2004.
     
  3. CDC. Cigarette smoking among adults—United States, 2002. (PDF Image PDF - 456k) Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 2004;53(20):428–431.  Accessed: May 2004.
     
  4. CDC. State-specific prevalence of current cigarette smoking among adults—United States 2002. (PDF Image PDF - 323k) Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 2004;52(53):1277–1280. Accessed: May 2004.

Note: The next update of this fact sheet is scheduled for May 2005. More recent information may be available at the CDC’s Office on Smoking and Health Web site: http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco, CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics Web site: http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nhis.htm, or from CDC’s Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System Web site: http://www.cdc.gov/brfss.

For Further Information

Office on Smoking and Health
National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Mailstop K-50
4770 Buford Hwy., NE
Atlanta, GA 30341-3717
770-488-5705
http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco

Media Inquiries: Contact the Office on Smoking and Health press line at 770-488-5493.


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This page last reviewed August 10, 2004

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Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion
Office on Smoking and Health