Cigarette smoking among adults and trends in smoking cessation --- United States, 2008
Cigarette smoking continues to be the leading cause of preventable morbidity and mortality in the United States (1). Full implementation of population-based strategies (2) and clinical interventions can educate adult smokers about the dangers of tobacco use and assist them in quitting (3,4). To assess progress toward the Healthy People 2010 objective of reducing the prevalence of cigarette smoking among adults to <12% (objective 27-1a) (5), CDC analyzed data from the 2008 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS). This report summarizes the results of that analysis, which indicated that during 1998--2008, the proportion of U.S. adults who were current cigarette smokers declined 3.5% (from 24.1% to 20.6%). However, the proportion did not change significantly from 2007 (19.8%) to 2008 (20.6%). In 2008, adults aged ?25 years with low educational attainment had the highest prevalence of smoking (41.3% among persons with a General Educational Development certificate [GED] and 27.5% among persons with less than a high school diploma, compared with 5.7% among those with a graduate degree). Adults with education levels at or below the equivalent of a high school diploma, who comprise approximately half of current smokers, had the lowest quit ratios (2008 range: 39.9% to 48.8%). Evidence-based programs known to be effective at reducing smoking should be intensified among groups with lower education, and health-care providers should take education level into account when communicating about smoking hazards and cessation to these patients.