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Now accepting proposals to develop a Smoke-Free Index©
Now accepting proposals to develop a Smoke-Free Index©
 

State of Smoking in the United States

Smoking rate: 18.5%. Approximately 44 million people age 18 and older currently smoke. 40% of Americans think e-cigarettes are as bad as cigarettes or worse. 75% of smokers’ parents currently or used to smoke.

Smoking Rate:

18.5 percent

Party to the FCTC:

No

Since the FCTC:

  • Smoking reduction: The percentage of adult smokers in the US has decreased from 21.6 percent in 2003 to 18.5 percent in 2015.
  • Bans: Since 2003, bans have been enacted on smoking in all enclosed workplaces, including bars and restaurants in 25 states. Eleven additional states have adopted smoking bans with exceptions for specific locations.
  • Health warnings: Since 2005, the US enacted warning labels that cover at least 30 percent of tobacco packaging.
  • Tobacco tax rates: The current median tobacco US state-local tax rate is $1.60 per pack. The federal cigarette tax is $1.01 per pack.

Regulatory Environment:

Tobacco products in the United States are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) under the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act (Tobacco Control Act). Under the Tobacco Control Act, all cigarettes, smokeless tobacco, e-cigarettes, heat-not-burn, and all other products and accessories made or derived from tobacco must receive a marketing authorization from the FDA. All tobacco products carry warning labels and advertising is restricted, but state and local governments often pass additional restrictions on smoking, particularly concerning age limits, advertising, and public smoking. Cigarettes with a characterizing flavor are banned. The FDA has proposed regulating menthol and the nicotine content of combusted cigarettes.

Media Dialogue:

Media coverage focuses on health risks of cigarette smoking, tobacco usage trends, smoking cessation, harm reduction methods, and the ever-changing regulatory environment.

Views of Alternatives to Smoking:

Americans have conflicting beliefs about alternatives. There is an ongoing debate over whether e-cigarettes are a healthier alternative and the risk of e-cigarettes as a gateway to traditional cigarettes for teenagers.

By the Numbers:

  • Approximately 44 million people ages 18 and older currently smoke.
  • 35 percent of Americans think the taxes on a pack of cigarettes is “about right”, 33 percent think it is “too high”, and 25 percent think it is “too low”.
  • 40 percent of Americans think e-cigarettes are as bad as cigarettes or worse in 2015, up from 13 percent in 2012.

“The overwhelming amount of the death and disease attributable to tobacco is caused by addiction to cigarettes. Addiction causes long-term sustained use. But it’s exposure to the harmful chemicals [from combustion] that causes disease.”

– Scott Gottlieb, MD, Food and Drug Administration commissioner