Consumption of cigarettes and combustible tobacco--United States, 2000-2011

MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2012 Aug 3;61(30):565-9.


Smoking cigarettes and other combustible tobacco products causes adverse health outcomes, particularly cancer and cardiovascular and pulmonary diseases. A priority of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is to develop innovative, rapid-response surveillance systems for assessing changes in tobacco use and related health outcomes. The two standard approaches for measuring smoking rates and behaviors are 1) surveying a representative sample of the public and asking questions about personal smoking behaviors and 2) estimating consumption based on tobacco excise tax data. Whereas CDC regularly publishes findings on national and state-specific smoking rates from public surveys, CDC has not reported consumption estimates. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), which previously provided such estimates, stopped reporting on consumption in 2007. To estimate consumption for the period 2000-2011, CDC examined excise tax data from the U.S. Department of Treasury's Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB); consumption estimates were calculated for cigarettes, roll-your-own tobacco, pipe tobacco, and small and large cigars. From 2000 to 2011, total consumption of all combustible tobacco decreased from 450.7 billion cigarette equivalents to 326.6, a 27.5% decrease; per capita consumption of all combustible tobacco products declined from 2,148 to 1,374, a 36.0% decrease. However, while consumption of cigarettes decreased 32.8% from 2000 to 2011, consumption of loose tobacco and cigars increased 123.1% over the same period. As a result, the percentage of total combustible tobacco consumption composed of loose tobacco and cigars increased from 3.4% in 2000 to 10.4% in 2011. The data suggest that certain smokers have switched from cigarettes to other combustible tobacco products, most notably since a 2009 increase in the federal tobacco excise tax that created tax disparities between product types.

MeSH terms

  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S.
  • Data Collection / methods
  • Humans
  • Population Surveillance / methods*
  • Smoking / economics
  • Smoking / epidemiology*
  • Taxes / statistics & numerical data*
  • United States / epidemiology