Data from National Health Interview Surveys from 1974 through 1985 are used to project cigarette smoking prevalence to the year 2000. Smoking prevalence in the United States has declined at a linear rate since 1974. If this trend continues, in the year 2000, 22% of the adult population (40 million Americans) will be smokers. By the year 2000, the major inequalities in prevalence will occur among educational categories. At least 30% of those who have not proceeded beyond a high school education will be smokers, whereas less than 10% of college graduates will smoke. Among the other sociodemographic subgroups, smoking prevalence is expected to decrease by the year 2000 to 20% among men, to 23% among women, to 25% among blacks, and to 21% among whites. Between 1974 and 1985, approximately 1.3 million persons per year became former smokers, indicating considerable success in public health efforts to encourage people to stop smoking. However, in the early 1980s, approximately 1 million new young persons per year were recruited to the ranks of regular smokers. This is equivalent to about 3000 new smokers each day. Public health efforts need to focus more on preventing young people from starting to smoke, and such prevention efforts should particularly target less educated socioeconomic groups.