Smoking Rate in U.S. Hits New Low of 16%

By Michael W. Chapman | July 27, 2018 | 11:01am EDT
Woman smoking. (YouTube)

( -- A new survey shows that the percentage of American adults who smoked at least one cigarette in the last week was 16%. This is in contrast to the number in the 1940s and 1950s, which averaged about 41% of the adult population.

In the July 1-11 survey, Gallup asked, "Have you, yourself, smoked any cigarettes in the past week? (% yes)."

Sixteen percent said "yes."

Ten years ago, 2008, the number was 21%.

In 2000, it was 25%.

In 1985, the number was 35%.

In 1969, it was 40%.

In 1954 it was 45% and in 1944, it was 41%.

Young man smoking.  (YouTube)

Since 1954, the percentage of the adult population that smokes has fallen 64.4%.

The Gallup numbers also show that in 1944, among smokers, 33% smoked one pack of cigarettes a day. Today, for regular smokers, 25% smoke one pack a day; 6% said they smoke more than one pack a day.

Also, for regular smokers today, 75% said "yes," they would "like to give up smoking." Only 24% said "no."

In its analysis, Gallup said, "At the start of the 1970s, four in 10 Americans still reported smoking, but by 1977, the rate had fallen to 36%. Twelve years later, in 1989, the smoking rate fell below the 30% mark for the first time. However, over the next two decades the smoking rate was relatively stable with about a quarter of Americans saying they smoked."

Young woman smoking.  (YouTube)

"Smoking rates among young adults, those aged 18-29, have declined most dramatically since 2001," continued Gallup. "Over the past three years, 15% of adults aged 18-29 say they smoked a cigarette in the past week, compared with the 34% who said so in the early 2000s. By contrast, smoking rates among Americans aged 30-49 have fallen by eight percentage points over this time period and, among older Americans, have essentially not budged."

For the telephone survey, Gallup interviewed 1,033 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The sampling error is +/-4 percentage points. 

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