Adult tobacco use among racial and ethnic groups living in the United States, 2002-2005

Prev Chronic Dis. 2008 Jul;5(3):A78. Epub 2008 Jun 15.


Introduction: U.S. data on adult tobacco use and the relationship between such use and tobacco-related health disparities are primarily limited to broad racial or ethnic populations. To monitor progress in tobacco control among adults living in the United States, we present information on tobacco use for both aggregated and disaggregated racial and ethnic subgroups.

Methods: We used data from the nationally representative sample of adults aged 18 years or older who participated in the National Survey on Drug Use and Health conducted 4 times during 2002-2005. We calculated 2 outcome measures: 1) use of any tobacco product (cigarettes, chewing or snuff tobacco, cigars, or pipes) during the 30 days before each survey and 2) cigarette smoking during the 30 days before each survey.

Results: The prevalence of tobacco use among adults aged 18 years or older varied widely across racial or ethnic groups or subgroups. Overall, about 3 of 10 adults living in the United States were tobacco users during the 30 days before being surveyed. The population groups or subgroups with a tobacco-use prevalence of 30% or higher were African Americans, American Indians or Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians or other Pacific Islanders, Puerto Ricans, and whites.

Conclusion: These results indicate that the prevalence of adult tobacco use is still high among several U.S. population groups or subgroups. Our results also support the need to design and evaluate interventions to prevent or control tobacco use that would reach distinct U.S. adult population groups or subgroups.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Ethnic Groups / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Smoking / ethnology*
  • Tobacco Use Disorder / ethnology*
  • Tobacco, Smokeless
  • United States / epidemiology