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.