State of Smoking in the United States | Foundation for a Smoke-Free World

state of smoking in the united states

This page was last edited on: June 23, 2022 at 10:18 am

smoking rate

TOBACCO USE RATE

TOBACCO USE AND TRENDS

  • There are 50.6 million tobacco users in the US, making it the fourth largest consumer market for tobacco in the world (behind China, India and Indonesia).
  • Approximately 5.6 million people ages 15 and older currently use smokeless tobacco (2.5% of the population).
  • Approximately 10.9 million people ages 15 and older use e-cigarettes.
  • Current tobacco product use was highest among non-Hispanic American Indian/Alaska Native adults (32.3%), followed by non-Hispanic multiracial adults (25.4%), non-Hispanic whites (21.9%), non-Hispanic blacks (19.3%), Hispanic adults (13.8%) and non-Hispanic Asian adults (10.0%).
  • The prevalence of current tobacco product use was higher among persons who had a GED (41.4%) versus those with other levels of education, and higher among those who were divorced, separated, or widowed (22.6%) or single, never married, or not living with a partner (21.1%) versus those married or living with a partner (18.4%).
  • Current tobacco product use was higher among persons with an annual household income of less than USD 35,000 (26.2%) versus those in higher income groups, and higher among LGBTQ adults (29.2%) versus heterosexual adults (19.5%).
  • Tobacco use is also significantly higher among men (25.8%) versus women (14.1%).
  • There is substantial variation in the prevalence of tobacco use by region. For example, tobacco prevalence is higher in the Midwest (23.6%) and the South (21.4%) U.S. Census regions versus the West (15.3%) or the Northeast (17.5%).

HEALTH AND ECONOMIC BURDEN FROM TOBACCO USE

  • In 2019, tobacco use accounted for 550,000 deaths, or 19.2% of all deaths in the country.
  • Smoking-related illness in the United States cost more than USD 300 billion each year.
  • Various forms of tobacco use are responsible for an estimated 20% of all cancers in the US.

REGULATORY ENVIRONMENT

  • U.S. has not signed the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC). However, it has a strong tobacco policy environment.
  • In May 2016, the US Food and Drug Administration extended its authority to regulate cigars, pipe tobacco, hookah tobacco, heated tobacco and e-vapor products, deeming them to be subject to the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. All manufacturers will need to file a PMTA (Pre-Market Tobacco Application).
  • Tobacco control is primarily implemented by state level regulations. Multiple states have banned flavored e-cigarettes in the past few years, including Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, and Rhode Island

TOBACCO PRODUCTION AND DIVERSIFICATION

  • U.S. tobacco production has decreased significantly since the 1990s (from nearly 850,000 tons of tobacco in 1992 to about 239,000 tons in 2021).
  • The United States is the sixth largest tobacco-producing country in the world. Farms in the country harvested more than 239,000 tons of tobacco in 2021.
  • In 2021 two states, North Carolina and Kentucky, accounted for more than 77% of total tobacco production.
United states infographic
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