The Impact of Education and Gender on Tobacco Use by American Adults

After decades of public education efforts on the dangers of tobacco use, cigarette smoking remains the leading cause of preventable disease and death in the United States. New data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that in 2019, approximately 20.8 percent of U.S. adults – more than 50 million Americans – used tobacco products.

We do know that higher education has a major impact on rates of smoking and tobacco use. In 2019, more than 43 percent of the adult population who had a GED certificate used tobacco products as did 26.4 percent of adults who had no higher education credential than a high school diploma. For adults with a bachelor’s degree, only 13.1 percent used tobacco products. For adults with a graduate degree, only 8.7 percent used any type of tobacco product.

Gender also plays a significant role. In 2019, only 15.7 percent of adult women used tobacco products compared to 26.2 percent of men. Some 12.7 percent of women smoked cigarettes compared to 15.3 percent of men. Only 1.1 percent of adult women smoked cigars compared to 6.3 percent of men.

Three times as many men smoked a pipe compared to women. Some 3.5 percent of adult women used electronic smoking devices commonly known as vaping. For men, 5.5 percent of all adults used electronic smoking devices. Men were more than 15 times as likely as women to use smokeless tobacco products.


Filed Under: Research/Study

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