The cigarette smoking rate among U.S. adults dropped from 20.9% in 2005 to 17.8% in 2013, according to new data published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
That is the lowest prevalence of adult smoking since the CDC’s National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) began keeping such records in 1965. The report also shows the number of cigarette smokers dropped from 45.1 million in 2005 to 42.1 million in 2013, despite the increasing population in the U.S.
Although smoking rates have dropped, cigarette smoking remains especially high among certain groups, most notably those below the poverty level, those who have less education, Americans of multiple race, American Indians/Alaska Natives, males, those who live in the South or Midwest, those who have a disability or limitation, and those who are lesbian/gay/bisexual.
Among current cigarette smokers, the proportion of those who smoke every day decreased from 80.8% in 2005 to 76.9% in 2013. The proportion of cigarette smokers who smoke only on some days increased from 19.2% in 2005 to 23.1% in 2013.
Among daily smokers, the average number of cigarettes smoked per day declined from 16.7 in 2005 to 14.2 in 2013. The proportion of daily smokers who smoked 20 to 29 cigarettes per day dropped from 34.9% in 2005 to 29.3% in 2013, while the proportion who smoked fewer than 10 cigarettes per day rose from 16.4% in 2005 to 23.3% in 2013.
“Though smokers are smoking fewer cigarettes, cutting back by a few cigarettes a day rather than quitting completely does not produce significant health benefits,” said Brian King Ph.D., a senior scientific advisor with CDC’s Office on Smoking and Health. “Smokers who quit before they’re 40 years old can get back almost all of the 10 years of life expectancy smoking takes away.”