ATLANTA, May 24 (UPI) -- The number of people in the United States who smoke cigarettes declined at a faster rate last year than it has in more than two decades, according to new research.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported today that just over 15 percent of adults in the United States smoked cigarettes in 2015, a two percent drop from the year before and largest one-year decline since 1993.
The decline continues a decades-long downward trend in the number of Americans who smoke cigarettes, and the 16.8 percent reported by the CDC for 2014 was the lowest in history -- until the new report.
The statistic comes from an early release of information collected as part of the 2015 National Health Survey, including estimates for use of healthcare, vaccination, obesity, alcohol and health treatment.
The data release shows 15.1 percent of adults smoked in 2015, lower than the 16.8 percent found in 2014. The rate is a nearly ten-point decline since 1997, when 24.7 percent of American adults were cigarette smokers.
Overall, men smoke more than women -- 16.7 percent of men smoked in 2015, compared to 13.6 percent of women; 25 percent of men are former smokers, compared to 18.9 percent of women; and while 58.3 percent of men have never smoked cigarettes, 67.5 percent of women have never smoked.
The most likely age of smokers in the United States is 45- to 64-year-olds, at 16.9 percent, while 16.5 percent of 18- to 44-year-olds and 8.4 percent of people over age 65 smoke cigarettes. In each age group, men are more likely than women to smoke.
A final release of full data, and its analysis, is scheduled for release in June, the CDC says.