July 29, 2007
A new Gallup poll shows that 21 percent of U.S. adults currently smoke cigarettes.
That is the lowest percentage of smokers in the U.S. since 1944. Since the Gallup began polling people in the U.S. about smoking, that value has never been lower, although it's roughly the same figure as in 1999, 2004, and 2006.
Gallup first started asking people in the U.S. about their smoking habits in 1944. Back then, 41 percent of poll participants reported smoking. Since then, smoking's health risks have been widely reported.
This year's Gallup smoking statistic is very low, but it's not quite an all-time low.
"From a statistical perspective, a 22 percent reading in 2004 and a pair of 23 percent measurements in 1999 and 2006 would be considered equivalent to the current reading," states Gallup.
In October 2006, the CDC reported that nearly 21 percent of U.S. adults had smoked cigarettes in the past year, but that America's eight-year drop in smoking had stalled.
This year's Gallup poll on smoking also shows that 55 percent of current smokers report smoking less than a pack of cigarettes daily.
In addition, Gallup reports that one in four current smokers report starting to smoke before age 16. That percentage hasn't been lower since 1991, according to Gallup.