Never before has fewer Americans smoked cigarettes, according to new data from the government's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
Cigarette smoking has reached an all-time low of 13.7 percent in 2018. That's a decline of about two-thirds in the more than 50 years since the first Surgeon General's report warned of the health issues related to lighting up.
“This marked decline in cigarette smoking is the achievement of a consistent and coordinated effort by the public health community and our many partners,” said CDC Director Robert R. Redfield, M.D. “Yet, our work is far from over. The health benefits of quitting smoking are significant, and we are committed to educating Americans about the steps they can take to become tobacco-free.”
The report shows nearly one in seven U-S adults smoke cigarettes. Many use other tobacco products. The study found that an estimated 49.1 million (19.7%) U.S. adults currently used a tobacco product in 2018. Cigarettes remained the most commonly used tobacco product (13.7%), followed by cigars, cigarillos, or filtered little cigars (3.9%); e-cigarettes (3.2%); smokeless tobacco (2.4%); and pipes, water pipes, or hookahs (1.0%). Most tobacco current product users (83.8%) reported using combustible products (cigarettes, cigars, pipes, water pipes, or hookahs), and 18.8% reported using two or more tobacco products.
During 2017–2018, e-cigarette use among adults increased from 2.8% to 3.2%, a reversal from the decline observed among adults during 2014-2017. The increase during 2017-2018 was primarily driven by an increase in e-cigarette use among young adults (18-24 years old), which rose from 5.2% in 2017 to 7.6% in 2018. Smokeless tobacco use also increased from 2.1% to 2.4% among adults during the same time period. No significant changes occurred in the use of the other tobacco products included in the study.
“The sustained drop in adult smoking is encouraging as we work to reduce tobacco-related disease and death in the U.S. through science-driven policy, compliance and enforcement in addition to public education,” said Admiral Brett Giroir, M.D., Assistant Secretary of Health and Acting FDA Commissioner. “We remain dedicated to keeping pace with the evolving tobacco product landscape to ensure strong regulatory oversight in light of the increases in youth use of e-cigarette products in the U.S.”