1997 National Household Survey on Drug Abuse:  Preliminary Results

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7. TOBACCO USE

oAn estimated 64 million Americans were current smokers in 1997. This represents a smoking rate of 30 percent for the population age 12 and older. There was no change between 1996 and 1997 overall.

oCurrent smokers were more likely to be heavy drinkers and illicit drug users. Among smokers, the rate of heavy alcohol use (five or more drinks on five or more days in the past month) was 12.1 percent, marijuana/hashish use was 13.0 percent, and current illicit drug use was 15.2 percent. Among nonsmokers, only 2.6 percent were heavy drinkers, 1.8 percent were marijuana/hashish users, and 2.7 percent were illicit drug users.

oAn estimated 3.2 percent of the population were current users of smokeless tobacco in 1997. The rate has remained steady since 1994.

Age

o160oApproximately 4.5 million youth age 12-17 were current smokers in 1997. The rate of smoking among youth age 12-17 was 19.9 percent. The rate was 18.9 percent in 1994, 20.2 percent in 1995, and 18.3 percent in 1996 with no statistically significant changes. For youth age 12-13, there was an increase in current use of cigarettes from 7.3 percent in 1996 to 9.7 percent in 1997.o160

oCurrent smoking rates 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, and 40.6 percent in 1997. The 1997 rate is significantly higher than both the 1994 and 1995 rates.

oYouth age 12-17 who currently smoked cigarettes were about twelve times as likely to use illicit drugs and 23 times as likely to drink heavily as nonsmoking youth (Figure 12).

Race/ethnicity

oIn 1997, current smoking rates were higher among whites (30.5 percent) and blacks (29.8 percent) than among Hispanics (27.4 percent) and those of other race/ethnic groups (18.8 percent). Smokeless tobacco use was more prevalent among whites (3.7 percent) than among blacks (2.5 percent) or Hispanics (0.7 percent).

Gender

oAmong adults, men had somewhat higher rates of smoking than women. Among youths age 12-17, the rates for males and females were 19.1 percent and 20.7 percent, respectively.

oThe rate of current smokeless tobacco use was significantly higher for men than for women in 1997 (6.1 percent vs. 0.5 percent). About 92 percent of smokeless tobacco users were men.

Region/Urbanicity

oThe rate of current cigarette use was 31.5 percent in the North Central region, 31.4 percent in the South, 28 percent in the Northeast, and 26 percent in the West. The rate of smoking was 27 percent in large metropolitan areas, 31 percent in small metropolitan areas, and 32 percent in nonmetropolitan areas.

Undisplayed Graphic
Education

oLevel of educational attainment was correlated with tobacco usage. Forty percent of adults who had not completed high school smoked cigarettes, while only 17 percent of college graduates smoked.

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This page was last updated on February 05, 2009.