In U.S., Smoking Rate Hits New Low at 16%
From the 1940s to the 1970s, about two in five U.S. adults smoked
Smoking rate has fallen most sharply among young adults
Middle-aged adults now more likely to smoke than youngest adults
Sixteen percent of U.S. adults say they smoked a cigarette in the past week, by one percentage point the lowest level on record since Gallup first asked this question in 1944.
In 1944, 41% of U.S. adults said they smoked; this figure held steady for the next several decades, even after the federal government warned the public in the early 1960s that smoking was a health threat
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.
In the late 2000s, smoking levels began to slowly drop again, when many cities and states started passing public smoking bans. In 2013, the percentage of Americans who smoked fell below 20% for the first time, where it has remained for four out of the five years since, including this most recent reading of 16%.
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