Despite progress in reducing the proportion of adults who smoke cigarettes, 36.5 million U.S. adults still smoke, according to the latest figures from the CDC.

During 2005–2015, cigarette smoking among U.S. adults declined from 20.9% to 15.1%, including a 1.7 absolute percentage point reduction during 2014-2015 alone.

However, the reductions did not affect all demographic groups. Smoking rates are higher among:

  • Younger male adults who are
  • American Indian/Alaska Native
  • have less education
  • live below the federal poverty level
  • live in the South or Midwest
  • are insured through Medicaid or are uninsured
  • have a disability/limitation
  • are LGB
  • or have serious psychological distress

The CDC says that proven population-based interventions, including tobacco price increases, comprehensive smoke-free laws, hard-hitting anti-tobacco mass media campaigns, and barrier-free access to tobacco cessation counseling and medications, are critical to reducing cigarette smoking and smoking-related disease and death among U.S. adults, particularly among subpopulations with the highest smoking prevalence.