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Tobacco

Latest Data

Explore the latest data for the LHI topic Tobacco.
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Where We’ve Been and Where We’re Going

Over the past decade, the current cigarette smoking rate among adults aged 18 years and over decreased by 26.4%, from 20.8% in 2005 to 15.3% in 2015 (age adjusted). In the most recent data year, 2015, current adult cigarette smoking rates varied by educational attainment; for example, adults aged 25 years and over with less than a high school education had a current cigarette smoking rate 7 times that of those with an advanced degree (25.6% and 3.7%, respectively; age adjusted). The rate of cigarette use in the last 30 days among students in grades 9–12 also decreased in the past decade, by 53.0%, from 23.0% in 2005 to 10.8% in 2015.  

Leading Health Indicators

Explore the latest data and disparities for each indicator.

Adults who are current cigarette smokers (TU-1.1)

  • Healthy People 2020 objective TU-1.1 tracks the proportion of adults who are current cigarette smokers.
    • HP2020 Baseline: In 2008, 20.6% of adults aged 18 years and over were current cigarette smokers (age adjusted).  
    • HP2020 Target: 12.0% (retained from HP2010), a 41.7% improvement over the baseline. 
    • The percentage of adults aged 18 years and over who were current cigarette smokers decreased 26.4% between 2005 and 2015, from 20.8% to 15.3% (age adjusted).    
  • Asian adults aged 18 years and over had the lowest rate of current cigarette smoking among racial and ethnic groups, 7.0% (age adjusted) in 2015. Rates for other racial and ethnic groups were (age adjusted):
    • 18.8% among adults of 2 or more races; more than 2.5 times the best group rate
    • 18.6% among American Indian or Alaska Native adults; more than 2.5 times the best group rate
    • 17.4% among white non-Hispanic adults; 2.5 times the best group rate 
    • 16.6% among black non-Hispanic adults; more than twice the best group rate
    • 9.9% among Hispanic or Latino adults; 41.4% higher than the best group rate
  • Adult females aged 18 years and over had a lower rate of current smoking than adult males in 2015 (13.8% versus 16.8%, age adjusted).
  • In 2015, adults aged 18 years and over from families with incomes at 600% of the poverty threshold or higher had the lowest rate of current cigarette smoking among family income groups, 6.9% (age adjusted). Rates for adults in other income groups were (age adjusted):
    • 26.3% for those with incomes under the poverty threshold; more than 3.5 times the best group rate
    • 21.4% for those with incomes 100–199% of the poverty threshold; more than 3 times the best group rate
    • 16.3% for those with incomes 200–399% of the poverty threshold; more than twice the best group rate
    • 11.2% for those with incomes 400–599% of the poverty threshold; 62.5% higher than the best group rate
  • Adults aged 18 years and over born outside of the United States had a lower rate of current cigarette smoking than adults born in the U.S. (8.1% versus 17.1%, age adjusted) in 2015. The rate for adults born in the U.S. was more than twice that of adults born outside of the U.S.  
  • Adults aged 18 years and over without disabilities had a lower rate of current cigarette smoking than adults with disabilities (13.7% versus 28.0%, age adjusted) in 2015. The rate for adults with disabilities was more than twice that of adults without disabilities.  
  • Adults aged 18 years and over who lived in metropolitan areas had a lower rate of current cigarette smoking than adults living in non-metropolitan areas (14.2% versus 22.3%, age adjusted) in 2015. The rate for adults living in non-metropolitan areas was 57.2% higher than that of adults living in metropolitan areas.  
  • In 2015, adults aged 18 years and over who identified as straight had the lowest rate of current cigarette smoking (15.1%, age adjusted) among sexual orientation groups. Rates for other sexual orientation groups were:
    • 17.8% among adults who identified as gay/lesbian; not significantly different from the best group rate
    • 23.2% among adults who identified as bisexual; 53.6% higher than the best group rate
Also in 2015: 
  • Among age groups, adults aged 65 years and over had the lowest rate of current smoking, 8.4%. Rates for other age groups were:
    • 16.5% among adults aged 18–44; twice the best group rate 
    • 17.0% among adults aged 45–64; twice the best group rate
  • Among education groups, adults aged 25 years and over with an advanced degree had the lowest rate of current cigarette smoking, 3.7% (age adjusted). Rates for other education groups were (age adjusted):
    • 7.3% among adults with a 4-year college degree; twice the best group rate
    • 16.4% among adults with an associate’s degree; 4.5 times the best group rate
    • 19.0% among adults with some college education; more than 5 times the best group rate
    • 22.9% among high school graduates; more than 6 times the best group rate
    • 25.6% among adults with less than a high school education; 7 times the best group rate

Current Cigarette Smoking among Adults by Educational Attainment, 2015

Tobacco use by educational attainment graphic

Data source: National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), CDC/NCHS.
 
  • Among health insurance status groups, adults aged 18–64 years with private health insurance had the lowest rate of current cigarette smoking (11.8%, age adjusted) compared to adults with public or no health insurance (27.8% and 27.4%, age adjusted, respectively). The rates of current cigarette smoking for adults with public or no insurance were more than twice as high as the rate for those with private health insurance.
Endnotes:
  • All disparities described are statistically significant at the 0.05 level of significance. 
  • Data (except those by education, health insurance, and age group) are age adjusted to the 2000 standard population using the age groups 18–24, 25–34, 35–44, 45–64, and 65 years and over. Data by education are adjusted using the age groups 25–34, 35–44, 45–64, and 65 years and over. Data by health insurance coverage are adjusted using the age groups 18–24, 25–34, 35–44, 45–54, and 55–64. Data by age group are not age adjusted. Age-adjusted rates are weighted sums of age-specific rates.
  • Current cigarette smokers are defined as persons who have smoked at least 100 cigarettes in their lifetime and at the time of interview reported smoking cigarettes every day or some days. 
  • Data for this measure are available annually and come from the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), CDC/NCHS. 
  • The terms “Hispanic or Latino” and “Hispanic” are used interchangeably in this report.  

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Adolescents who smoked cigarettes in the past 30 days (TU-2.2)

  • Healthy People 2020 objective TU-2.2 tracks the proportion of students in grades 9–12 who smoked cigarettes in the last 30 days.
    • HP2020 Baseline: In 2009, 19.5% of students in grades 9–12 smoked cigarettes in the last 30 days.
    • HP2020 Target: 16.0% (retained from HP2010), a 17.9% improvement over the baseline. 
    • The percentage of students in grades 9–12 who smoked cigarettes in the last 30 days decreased 53.0% between 2005 and 2015, from 23.0% to 10.8%, exceeding the Healthy People 2020 target.
In 2015, among students in grades 9–12:
  • Black non-Hispanic students had the lowest rate of cigarette use in the past 30 days among racial and ethnic groups, 6.5%. Rates for other racial and ethnic groups were:
    • 8.3% among Asian students; not significantly different than the best group rate  
    • 9.2% among Hispanic or Latino students; 42.2% higher than the best group rate  
    • 11.0% among Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander students; 68.8% higher than the best group rate  
    • 11.6% among American Indian or Alaska Native students; 79.3% higher than the best group rate  
    • 12.4% among White non-Hispanic students; 90.9% higher than the best group rate 
    • 15.3% among students of 2 or more races; more than twice the best group rate  
Cigarette Use in the Past 30 Days among High School Students by Race/Ethnicity, 2015

Tobacco use by race and ethnicity

Data source: Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS), CDC/NCHHSTP.
 
  • Female students had a lower rate of cigarette use in the last 30 days than males (9.7% versus 11.8%).
  • Students in 9th grade had the lowest rate of cigarette use in the last month (7.6%). Rate for other grades were:
    • 8.8% among 10th grade students; not significantly different from the best group rate
    • 13.1% among 11th grade students, 72.4% higher than the best group rate
    • 14.1% among 12th grade students; 86.0% higher than the best group rate
Endnotes:
  • All disparities described are statistically significant at the 0.05 level of significance, unless otherwise stated. 
  • Students are classified as using cigarettes in the past 30 days if they report smoking cigarettes on 1 or more of the 30 days preceding the survey.
  • Data for this measure are available biennially from the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS), CDC/NCHHSTP. 
  • The terms “Hispanic or Latino” and “Hispanic” are used interchangeably in this report.  

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