National Household Survey on Drug Abuse
° An estimated 60 million Americans were
current cigarette smokers in 1998. This represents a smoking rate of 27.7
percent for the population age 12 and older. The rate decrease from 29.6
percent in 1997 is statistically significant.
° Current smokers were more likely
than non-smokers to be heavy drinkers and illicit drug users. Among current
smokers, the rate of heavy alcohol use (five or more drinks on the same
occasion on five or more days in the past month) was 14.0 percent, the
rate of marijuana/hashish use was 13.6 percent, and the rate of current
illicit drug use was 16.1 percent. Among nonsmokers, only 2.9 percent were
heavy drinkers, 1.8 percent were marijuana/hashish users, and 2.5 percent
were illicit drug users.
° An estimated 3.1 percent of the population
were current users of smokeless tobacco in 1998. The rate has remained
steady since 1991.
° An estimated 6.9 percent of the population
were current users of cigars in 1998. This represents a statistically significant
increase from 1997, when the rate was 5.9 percent.
° Approximately 4.1 million youth age
12-17 were current smokers in 1998. The rate of smoking among youth age
12-17 was 18.2 percent. The rate was 18.9 percent in 1994, 20.2 percent
in 1995, 18.3 percent in 1996, and 19.9 percent in 1997. There were no
statistically significant changes.
° Youths age 12-17 who currently smoked
cigarettes were 11.4 times as likely to use illicit drugs and 16 times
as likely to drink heavily as nonsmoking youths (Figure 12).
° The current smoking rate among young
adults age 18-25 continues to follow an upward path from 34.6 percent in
1994 to 35.3 percent in 1995, 38.3 percent in 1996, 40.6 percent in 1997,
and 41.6 percent in 1998. The 1998 rate is significantly higher than the
1994, 1995 and 1996 rates.
° An estimated 5.6 percent of youths
age 12-17, or 1.3 million, were current cigar users in 1998. This rate
compares to 5.0 percent in 1997; the difference is not statistically significant.
° In 1998, current smoking rates were
29 percent among blacks, 28 percent among whites, 26 percent among Hispanics,
and 24 percent among those of other race/ethnic groups. Smokeless tobacco
use was more prevalent among whites (3.7 percent) than among blacks (2.0
percent) or Hispanics (0.8 percent).
° Males had higher rates of smoking than
females (29.7 percent vs. 25.7 percent). Among youths age 12-17, the rates
for males and females were similar (18.7 percent for males, 17.7 percent
for females). The rate for females age 12-17 years decreased significantly
between 1997 and 1998, from 20.7 percent to 17.7 percent.
° The rate of current smokeless tobacco
use was significantly higher for men than for women in 1998 (5.9 percent
vs. 0.5 percent). About 91 percent of smokeless tobacco users were men.
Similarly, males were more likely than females to use cigars (11.9 percent
vs. 2.3 percent).
° The rate of current cigarette use was
32.0 percent in the North Central region, 27.9 percent in the South, 25.5
percent in the Northeast, and 24.5 percent in the West. The rate of smoking
was 26.5 percent in large metropolitan areas, 27.2 percent in small metropolitan
areas, and 30.5 percent in nonmetropolitan areas.
° Level of educational attainment was
correlated with tobacco usage. Fifty percent of adults age 26-34 who had
not completed high school smoked cigarettes, while only 15 percent of college
graduates in this age group smoked. The opposite relationship was found
for cigar use. 10.7 percent of college graduates age 26-34 were current
cigar smokers, compared to 7.5 percent of those who had not completed high
This page was last updated on June 01, 2008.