Cigarettes do not have the same pull factor for young Americans that they used to. Looking at Gallup survey data going back to 2001-2003, roughly one-third of young adults in the U.S. said they smoked cigarettes twenty years ago. Now though, in the period 2019-2022, just 12 percent confessed to a smoking habit.
This downward trend isn't confined to Americans with less mileage on the clock, either. Falls in cigarette smoking rates were registered across the board, with the second-largest decrease seen in the 30 to 49 bracket. That said, the lowest overall rate belonged to the oldest group of respondents in 2022. For the over 65s, enough wisdom seems to have been gathered over the years to mean that just 8 percent said they had smoked a life endangering cigarette in the past week - a decrease from the 14 percent recorded in 2001-2003.
That all being said, the positive news that smoking is on the decline needs to be taken with caution. As Gallup data also indicates, while young adults may be smoking less cigarettes, a significant share appear to have simply switched to a different vice. E-cigarettes, or vaping, are used by 19 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds. Although vaping eliminates the unpleasant smell emitted by cigarettes, the habit is far from healthy, is addictive and carries with it its own dangers and risk to life.