Smoking prevalence in 2010: why the healthy people goal is unattainable

Am J Public Health. 2000 Mar;90(3):401-3. doi: 10.2105/ajph.90.3.401.


Objectives: This study examined the changes in smoking initiation and cessation needed to realize the Healthy People 2010 national adult smoking prevalence objective (13%).

Methods: Using data from the National Health Interview Surveys, we calculated smoking prevalence over time with a dynamic population demographics model, examining the effects of changes in smoking initiation and cessation.

Results: The draft objective is unattainable solely through decreases in smoking initiation. It could be achieved through smoking cessation alone only if cessation rates immediately increased by a factor of more than 3.5. Assuming plausible decreases in initiation and increases in cessation, the draft objective is virtually unattainable.

Conclusions: The health objectives should challenge the status quo but be achievable. Formal analysis often can assist in establishing reasonable objectives.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Statistical
  • Prevalence
  • Smoking / epidemiology*
  • Smoking Cessation / statistics & numerical data*
  • United States / epidemiology