Tobacco use remains the leading cause of preventable illness and death in the United States

Background: Tobacco use remains the leading cause of preventable morbidity and mortality in the United States.

Methods: The 2005–2010 National Health Interview Surveys and the 2010 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System survey were used to estimate national and state adult smoking prevalence, respectively. Current cigarette smokers were defined as adults aged ≥18 years who reported having smoked ≥100 cigarettes during their lifetime and who now smoke every day or some days.

Results: In 2010, 19.3% of U.S. adults were current cigarette smokers. Higher smoking prevalence was observed in the Midwest (21.8%) and South (21.0%). From 2005 to 2010, the proportion of smokers declined from 20.9% to 19.3% (p<0.05 for trend), representing approximately 3 million fewer smokers in 2010 than would have existed had prevalence not declined since 2005. The proportion of daily smokers who smoked one to nine cigarettes per day (CPD) increased from 16.4% to 21.8% during 2005–2010 (p<0.05 for trend), whereas the proportion who smoked ≥30 CPD decreased from 12.7% to 8.3% (p<0.05 for trend).

Conclusions: During 2005–2010, an overall decrease was observed in the prevalence of cigarette smoking among adults; however, the amount and direction of change has not been consistent year-to-year.

Implications for Public Health Practice: Enhanced efforts are needed to accelerate the decline in cigarette smoking among adults. Population-based prevention strategies, such as tobacco taxes, media campaigns, and smoke-free policies, in concert with clinical cessation interventions, can help decrease cigarette smoking and reduce the health burden and economic impact of tobacco-related diseases in the United States.

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