However, incidence still far surpasses the Healthy People 2020 goal.
The Healthy People 2020 goal for smoking incidence among adults is ≤ 12%. While some might argue that it should be even lower than 12%, it’s a goal and one that still is not yet met.
Researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention identified U.S. smoking incidence and trends using data from the 2012 National Health Interview Survey, which is an annual, nationally representative, in-person survey of non-institutionalized non-military U.S. citizens. A total of 34,525 adults participated in the survey, which reflects a response rate of 61.2%. Current smokers were defined as respondents who reported smoking ≥100 cigarettes during their lifetime and, at the time of interview, reported smoking every day or some days. Former smokers were respondents who reported smoking ≥100 cigarettes during their lifetime but currently did not smoke. A quit attempt was defined as a report by a current smoker that he or she stopped smoking for more than one day during the preceding year because they were trying to quit smoking, or a report by a former smoker that they quit smoking during the preceding year.
In 2012, 18.1% (42.1 million) of U.S. adults were current cigarette smokers. Of these, 78.4% (33.0 million) smoked every day, and 21.6% (9.1 million) smoked some days. Among daily smokers, the number of cigarettes smoked per day decreased from an average of 16.7 in 2005 to 14.6 in 2012. The percentage of ever-smokers who quit increased significantly from 50.7% in 2005 to 55.0% in 2012. In each survey year, quit ratios were lowest among adults aged 18 to 24 years and highest among those aged 65 years or older.
Although overall smoking prevalence declined from 20.9% in 2005 to 18.1% in 2012, it still exceeds the Healthy People 2020 goal and reminds clinicians that we need to continue efforts to ask our patients if they smoke and if so, if they would like to quit.
Agaku, IT, King BA, Dube SR. Current cigarette smoking among adults—United States, 2005-2012. MMWR 2014; 63(02): 29-34.