Between the 1940s and thee early 1970s, the U.S. smoking rate remained stable with two in five adults saying they smoked in the past week, according to Gallup. The smoking rate reached 45 percent in 1954 and even though the government was proactive in issuing health warnings about cigarettes in the 1960s, the trend only started to decline in the late 1970s. By 1977, the smoking rate fell to 36 percent and it finally fell below 30 percent in 1989.
The smoking rate has now fallen to just 16 percent, the lowest level recorded since Gallup first started polling Americans about their smoking habits in 1944. More and more Americans have ditched cigarettes due to increasing awareness of the hazards of smoking as well as public smoking bans in major cities. Smoking rates among young people in particular have declined dramatically over the past two decades. In the early 2000s, 34 percent of Americans in the 18 to 29 age bracket said they smoked a cigarette in the past week and by 2018, that had fallen to 15 percent.
This chart shows the share of Americans who have smoked a cigarette in the past week.
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