Cigarette smoking in the U.S. military: findings from the 1992 Worldwide Survey

Prev Med. 1994 Jul;23(4):521-8. doi: 10.1006/pmed.1994.1071.


Background: Using data from the military's Worldwide Survey series, this article presents findings on the prevalence of smoking among active-duty military personnel in 1992 and trends since 1980.

Methods: A stratified probability sampling design was used in the 1992 Worldwide Survey. Military installations worldwide were sampled, and then active-duty personnel within these installations were selected. A total of 16,395 usable questionnaires were obtained, for an overall response rate of 77.3%.

Results: The prevalence of cigarette smoking among military personnel has declined from 51% in 1980 to 35% in 1992. This decline was not explained by changes in the sociodemographic composition of the military population. Overall, smoking was more prevalent among personnel who were white, had less education, and were enlisted. In addition, enlisted men reporting higher levels of work-related stress were more likely to be smokers. Over half of all military personnel who were smokers in the past year attempted to quit.

Conclusions: The military has made considerable progress since 1980 in reducing the prevalence of smoking among military personnel. Nonetheless, the prevalence in 1992 was still relatively high, affecting about one of every three personnel. A promising group to target in future antismoking efforts may be smokers who tried to quit during the past year.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Data Collection / methods
  • Demography
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Military Personnel*
  • Probability
  • Regression Analysis
  • Sampling Studies
  • Smoking / epidemiology*
  • Smoking Cessation
  • United States / epidemiology