Although various tobacco control measures have been implemented in Germany in the recent years, smoking is still widespread and constitutes a considerable health risk for the population. According to the data of the German Health Interview and Examination Survey for Adults (DEGS1), which was conducted by Robert Koch Institute from 2008 to 2011, 29.7% of the 18 to 79-year old population smokes (women = 26.9%, men = 32.6%). The proportion of women and men who smoke 20 or more cigarettes a day amounts to 6.0% and 10.6% respectively. Smoking is mostly widespread among young adults, as well as among persons with low social status who are also overrepresented among the heavy smokers. Comparison with data from previous health surveys indicates that the proportion of smokers has reduced slightly over the last 10 years. An English full-text version of this article is available at SpringerLink as supplemental.