In US, one in five use tobacco

November 9, 2017

Dunhill Early Morning Pipe Tobacco, 1990's Murray. Credit: Sjschen/Wikipedia
One in five adults in the United States uses tobacco on a regular basis, and 15 percent of the population smokes cigarettes, according to US government data released Thursday.

The smoking rate has stayed steady in recent years despite public health efforts to reduce tobacco use, said the report by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"Too many Americans are harmed by cigarette smoking, which is the nation's leading preventable cause of death and disease," said CDC director Brenda Fitzgerald.

The latest data is from 2015 and is based on a nationally representative survey of about 33,000 people who are not in jails or other institutions.

It found that 20.1 percent of the US population—some 49 million people—uses tobacco regularly.

Some 87 percent of tobacco users—42 million adults—reported using a combustible product such as cigarettes, cigars, or pipes.

Just 3.5 percent said they used e-cigarettes, and 3.4 percent used cigars, cigarillos, or filtered little cigars.

Smokeless tobacco—such as chewing tobacco and snuff—was reported by 2.3 percent of adults. Just 1.2 percent used pipes, water pipes, or hookahs.

Men are far more likely than women to smoke. One quarter of men use , compared to 15 percent of women, said the report.

"Tobacco product use ranged from nine percent among Asians to 26.6 percent among American Indians/Alaska Natives," it added.

The highest smoking rates were seen in people earning less than $35,000 per year, and those without a .

"These results make clear that more action is needed to reduce the disease and death caused by cigarette use—and the FDA has announced a comprehensive approach to do just that," said FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb.

He said the FDA is "seeking to regulate the nicotine content in cigarettes to render them minimally or non-addictive."

Explore further: More than one in five U.S. working adults uses tobacco

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