Quitting smoking in the United States in 1986

J Natl Cancer Inst. 1990 Sep 5;82(17):1402-6. doi: 10.1093/jnci/82.17.1402.


In an analysis of recent behavior with regard to quitting smoking, detailed histories were obtained on a representative sample of 5,623 Americans who had smoked in the year preceding the 1986 Adult Use of Tobacco Survey. An estimated 55.8 million Americans smoked regularly for some period during the year prior to the survey. Approximately one third (34.8%) quit for at least a day during the year prior to the survey, 28.3% quit for at least 7 days during the year prior to the survey, and 16.2% were still not smoking at the time of the survey. Of those who quit for a day, 54% had relapsed by the time of the survey. Demographic characteristics, such as age, sex, race, marital status, and education, were evaluated as predictors of making a major attempt to quit for 7 days or more. Among those who had made a major attempt, a similar analysis was done predicting success in maintaining cessation for 3 months or more. Ordinal logistic regression analyses showed that younger age and higher education predicted a major attempt to quit. There was only one group who differed markedly from all others: those who were younger and were more highly educated. Older age and being white predicted those who abstained for 3 months or longer.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Educational Status
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Smoking / psychology
  • Smoking Prevention*
  • Time Factors
  • United States