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Tobacco use causes serious diseases and health problems including cancer, heart disease, lung diseases, pregnancy complications, and vision problems. Secondhand smoke exposure also causes heart disease and lung cancer in adults, and health problems in infants and children. Preventing tobacco use and helping people who use tobacco to quit can improve health and quality of life for many Americans.


Current Cigarette Smoking by Educational Attainment, 2015

Among adults aged 25 years and over, age-adjusted rates of current cigarette smoking varied by educational attainment in 2015.

  • 3.7% among adults with an advanced degree
  • 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

Data source: National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), CDC/NCHS.

Adult Cigarette Smoking
In 2015, 15.3% of adults aged 18 years and over were current cigarette smokers (age adjusted).
Most Recent: 15.3% (age adjusted) in 2015
HP2020 Target: 12.0%
21.6% decrease needed to meet the target.
Data source: National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), CDC/NCHS.
Adolescent Cigarette Smoking
In 2015, 10.8% of students in grades 9–12 smoked cigarettes in the past 30 days.
Most Recent: 10.8%
HP2020 Target: 16.0%
Target has been met.
Data source: Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS), CDC/NCHHSTP.