Tobacco Use Initiation

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In 2013, 4.3% of children and adolescents aged 12 to 17 began smoking cigarettes in the past year.

Summary graph for Tobacco Use Initiation, Click to see detailed view of graph

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Introduction

Tobacco smoking often starts during adolescence but can have detrimental health effects throughout life. Nearly 90 percent of adult daily smokers in the United States began smoking by age 18 and 98 percent first smoked by age 26.  Initiation of smoking during adolescence is closely associated with persistent smoking in adulthood and with the many adverse health effects associated with chronic smoking.

While cigarettes represent the predominant form of tobacco, data for other tobacco products such as cigars and smokeless tobacco have recently been tracked as well.  Understanding trends in the initiation of --cigarette and cigar smoking, and smokeless tobacco use, and their combined use -- among youth enables policy makers to target prevention resources more effectively. To decrease tobacco use and susceptibility to use among youth, restrictions on advertising, promotion, and availability of tobacco products to youth should be combined with full implementation of evidence-based, community-wide, comprehensive tobacco control policies such as product taxes and smoke-free air laws. (See also Chapters on “Youth Tobacco Use.,” and “Adult Tobacco Smoking and Smokeless Tobacco Use”).

Measure

The percentage of individuals among those aged 12 to 17 years and 18 to 25 years who said they had initiated cigarette smoking during the past 12 months.

The percentage of individuals among those aged 12 to 17 years and 18 to 25 years who said they had initiated cigar smoking during the past 12 months.

The percentage of individuals among those aged 12 to 17 years and 18 to 25 years who said they had initiated smokeless tobacco use during the past 12 months.

The percentage of individuals among those aged 12 to 17 years and 18 to 25 years who said they had initiated use of any of these tobacco products during the past 12 months.

Healthy People 2020 Target

  • Reduce the initiation of the use of tobacco products by children and adolescents aged 12 to 17 years to 5.8 percent.
  • Reduce the initiation of the use of cigarettes by children and adolescents aged 12 to 17 years to 4.3 percent.
  • Reduce the initiation of the use of smokeless tobacco products by children and adolescents aged 12 to 17 years to 0.6 percent.
  • Reduce the initiation of the use of cigars by children and adolescents aged 12 to 17 years to 2.9 percent.
  • Reduce the initiation of the use of tobacco products by young adults aged 18 to 25 years to 8.9 percent.
  • Reduce the initiation of the use of cigarettes by young adults aged 18 to 25 years to 6.4 percent.
  • Reduce the initiation of the use of smokeless tobacco products by young adults aged 18 to 25 years to 0.2 percent.
  • Reduce the initiation of the use of cigars by young adults aged 18 to 25 years to 4.3 percent.

Healthy People 2020 is a set of goals set forth by the Department of Health and Human Services.

Data Source

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, National Household Survey on Drug Use and Health, 2002 -  2011.

Trends and Most Recent EstimatesHelp with navigating the graphs and data tables

Product Comparison

Ages 12-17
Initiation of the use of tobacco products among children and adolescents aged 12-17 years by type of tobacco product, 2002-2013
Overview Graph Detailed Trend Graphs Most Recent Estimates (2013)
Percent Confidence Interval
Thumbnail of graph for Initiation of the use of tobacco products among children and adolescents aged 12-17 years by type of tobacco product, 2002-2013 All tobacco productsClick to see the detailed trend graph for All tobacco products 5.6 (5.2 - 6.0)
CigarettesClick to see the detailed trend graph for Cigarettes 4.3 (3.9 - 4.7)
Smokeless tobaccoClick to see the detailed trend graph for Smokeless tobacco 2.0 (1.7 - 2.3)
CigarsClick to see the detailed trend graph for Cigars 3.1 (2.8 - 3.4)
Ages 18-25
Initiation of the use of tobacco products among young adults aged 18-25 years by type of tobacco product, 2002-2013
Overview Graph Detailed Trend Graphs Most Recent Estimates (2013)
Percent Confidence Interval
Thumbnail of graph for Initiation of the use of tobacco products among young adults aged 18-25 years by type of tobacco product, 2002-2013 All tobacco productsClick to see the detailed trend graph for All tobacco products 9.2 (8.3 - 10.1)
CigarettesClick to see the detailed trend graph for Cigarettes 6.6 (5.9 - 7.3)
Smokeless tobaccoClick to see the detailed trend graph for Smokeless tobacco 1.8 (1.5 - 2.1)
CigarsClick to see the detailed trend graph for Cigars 5.9 (5.4 - 6.4)

All Tobacco Products

Ages 12-17 by Sex
Initiation of the use of any tobacco product among children and adolescents aged 12-17 years by sex, 2008-2013
Overview Graph Detailed Trend Graphs Most Recent Estimates (2013)
Percent Confidence Interval
Thumbnail of graph for Initiation of the use of any tobacco product among children and adolescents aged 12-17 years by sex, 2008-2013 Both SexesClick to see the detailed trend graph for Both Sexes 5.6 (5.2 - 6.0)
MaleClick to see the detailed trend graph for Male 6.2 (5.5 - 6.9)
FemaleClick to see the detailed trend graph for Female 5.0 (4.5 - 5.5)
Ages 18-25 by Sex
Initiation of the use of any tobacco product among young adults aged 18-25 years by sex, 2008-2013
Overview Graph Detailed Trend Graphs Most Recent Estimates (2013)
Percent Confidence Interval
Thumbnail of graph for Initiation of the use of any tobacco product among young adults aged 18-25 years by sex, 2008-2013 Both SexesClick to see the detailed trend graph for Both Sexes 9.2 (8.3 - 10.1)
MaleClick to see the detailed trend graph for Male 11.0 (9.6 - 12.4)
FemaleClick to see the detailed trend graph for Female 8.0 (7.0 - 9.0)
Ages 12-17 by Race/Ethnicity
Initiation of the use of any tobacco product among children and adolescents aged 12-17 years by race/ethnicity, 2008-2013
Overview Graph Detailed Trend Graphs Most Recent Estimates (2013)
Percent Confidence Interval
Thumbnail of graph for Initiation of the use of any tobacco product among children and adolescents aged 12-17 years by race/ethnicity, 2008-2013 All RacesClick to see the detailed trend graph for All Races 5.6 (5.2 - 6.0)
Non-Hispanic WhiteClick to see the detailed trend graph for Non-Hispanic White 6.6 (6.0 - 7.2)
Non-Hispanic BlackClick to see the detailed trend graph for Non-Hispanic Black 4.6 (3.6 - 5.6)
HispanicClick to see the detailed trend graph for Hispanic 4.7 (3.8 - 5.6)
Ages 18-25 by Race/Ethnicity
Initiation of the use of any tobacco product among young adults aged 18-25 years by race/ethnicity, 2008-2013
Overview Graph Detailed Trend Graphs Most Recent Estimates (2013)
Percent Confidence Interval
Thumbnail of graph for Initiation of the use of any tobacco product among young adults aged 18-25 years by race/ethnicity, 2008-2013 All RacesClick to see the detailed trend graph for All Races 9.2 (8.3 - 10.1)
Non-Hispanic WhiteClick to see the detailed trend graph for Non-Hispanic White 11.4 (10.1 - 12.7)
Non-Hispanic BlackClick to see the detailed trend graph for Non-Hispanic Black 6.4 (4.8 - 8.0)
HispanicClick to see the detailed trend graph for Hispanic 8.4 (6.5 - 10.3)
By Age
Initiation of the use of any tobacco products among children, adolescents and young adults by age at initiation, 2008-2013
Overview Graph Detailed Trend Graphs Most Recent Estimates (2013)
Percent Confidence Interval
Thumbnail of graph for Initiation of the use of any tobacco products among children, adolescents and young adults by age at initiation, 2008-2013 Ages 12-17Click to see the detailed trend graph for Ages 12-17 5.6 (5.2 - 6.0)
Ages 18-25Click to see the detailed trend graph for Ages 18-25 9.2 (8.3 - 10.1)

Cigarettes

Ages 12-17 by Sex
Initiation of the use of cigarettes among children and adolescents aged 12-17 years by sex, 2002-2013
Overview Graph Detailed Trend Graphs Most Recent Estimates (2013)
Percent Confidence Interval
Thumbnail of graph for Initiation of the use of cigarettes among children and adolescents aged 12-17 years by sex, 2002-2013 Both SexesClick to see the detailed trend graph for Both Sexes 4.3 (3.9 - 4.7)
MaleClick to see the detailed trend graph for Male 4.2 (3.7 - 4.7)
FemaleClick to see the detailed trend graph for Female 4.3 (3.8 - 4.8)
Ages 18-25 by Sex
Initiation of the use of cigarettes among young adults aged 18-25 years by sex, 2002-2013
Overview Graph Detailed Trend Graphs Most Recent Estimates (2013)
Percent Confidence Interval
Thumbnail of graph for Initiation of the use of cigarettes among young adults aged 18-25 years by sex, 2002-2013 Both SexesClick to see the detailed trend graph for Both Sexes 6.6 (5.9 - 7.3)
MaleClick to see the detailed trend graph for Male 7.4 (6.4 - 8.4)
FemaleClick to see the detailed trend graph for Female 5.9 (5.0 - 6.8)
Ages 12-17 by Race/Ethnicity
Initiation of the use of cigarettes among children and adolescents aged 12-17 years by race/ethnicity, 2008-2013
Overview Graph Detailed Trend Graphs Most Recent Estimates (2013)
Percent Confidence Interval
Thumbnail of graph for Initiation of the use of cigarettes among children and adolescents aged 12-17 years by race/ethnicity, 2008-2013 All RacesClick to see the detailed trend graph for All Races 4.3 (3.9 - 4.7)
Non-Hispanic WhiteClick to see the detailed trend graph for Non-Hispanic White 4.8 (4.3 - 5.3)
Non-Hispanic BlackClick to see the detailed trend graph for Non-Hispanic Black 3.3 (2.4 - 4.2)
HispanicClick to see the detailed trend graph for Hispanic 4.0 (3.2 - 4.8)
Ages 18-25 by Race/Ethnicity
Initiation of the use of cigarettes among young adults aged 18-25 years by race/ethnicity, 2008-2013
Overview Graph Detailed Trend Graphs Most Recent Estimates (2013)
Percent Confidence Interval
Thumbnail of graph for Initiation of the use of cigarettes among young adults aged 18-25 years by race/ethnicity, 2008-2013 All RacesClick to see the detailed trend graph for All Races 6.6 (5.9 - 7.3)
Non-Hispanic WhiteClick to see the detailed trend graph for Non-Hispanic White 7.7 (6.6 - 8.8)
Non-Hispanic BlackClick to see the detailed trend graph for Non-Hispanic Black 4.6 (3.3 - 5.9)
HispanicClick to see the detailed trend graph for Hispanic 6.6 (5.0 - 8.2)
By Age
Initiation of the use of cigarettes among children, adolescents and young adults by age at initiation, 2002-2013
Overview Graph Detailed Trend Graphs Most Recent Estimates (2013)
Percent Confidence Interval
Thumbnail of graph for Initiation of the use of cigarettes among children, adolescents and young adults by age at initiation, 2002-2013 Ages 12-17Click to see the detailed trend graph for Ages 12-17 4.3 (3.9 - 4.7)
Ages 18-25Click to see the detailed trend graph for Ages 18-25 6.6 (5.9 - 7.3)

Smokeless Tobacco

Ages 12-17 by Sex
Initiation of the use of smokeless tobacco among children and adolescents aged 12-17 years by sex, 2008-2013
Overview Graph Detailed Trend Graphs Most Recent Estimates (2013)
Percent Confidence Interval
Thumbnail of graph for Initiation of the use of smokeless tobacco among children and adolescents aged 12-17 years by sex, 2008-2013 Both SexesClick to see the detailed trend graph for Both Sexes 2.0 (1.7 - 2.3)
MaleClick to see the detailed trend graph for Male 3.4 (2.9 - 3.9)
FemaleClick to see the detailed trend graph for Female 0.8 (0.6 - 1.0)
Ages 18-25 by Sex
Initiation of the use of smokeless tobacco among young adults aged 18-25 years by sex, 2008-2013
Overview Graph Detailed Trend Graphs Most Recent Estimates (2013)
Percent Confidence Interval
Thumbnail of graph for Initiation of the use of smokeless tobacco among young adults aged 18-25 years by sex, 2008-2013 Both SexesClick to see the detailed trend graph for Both Sexes 1.8 (1.5 - 2.1)
MaleClick to see the detailed trend graph for Male 3.1 (2.5 - 3.7)
FemaleClick to see the detailed trend graph for Female 0.8 (0.6 - 1.0)
Ages 12-17 by Race/Ethnicity
Initiation of the use of smokeless tobacco among children and adolescents aged 12-17 years by race/ethnicity, 2008-2013
Overview Graph Detailed Trend Graphs Most Recent Estimates (2013)
Percent Confidence Interval
Thumbnail of graph for Initiation of the use of smokeless tobacco among children and adolescents aged 12-17 years by race/ethnicity, 2008-2013 All RacesClick to see the detailed trend graph for All Races 2.0 (1.7 - 2.3)
Non-Hispanic WhiteClick to see the detailed trend graph for Non-Hispanic White 3.1 (2.6 - 3.6)
Non-Hispanic BlackClick to see the detailed trend graph for Non-Hispanic Black 0.7 (0.3 - 1.1)
HispanicClick to see the detailed trend graph for Hispanic 0.5 (0.3 - 0.7)
Ages 18-25 by Race/Ethnicity
Initiation of the use of smokeless tobacco among young adults aged 18-25 years by race/ethnicity, 2008-2013
Overview Graph Detailed Trend Graphs Most Recent Estimates (2013)
Percent Confidence Interval
Thumbnail of graph for Initiation of the use of smokeless tobacco among young adults aged 18-25 years by race/ethnicity, 2008-2013 All RacesClick to see the detailed trend graph for All Races 1.8 (1.5 - 2.1)
Non-Hispanic WhiteClick to see the detailed trend graph for Non-Hispanic White 2.8 (2.3 - 3.3)
Non-Hispanic BlackClick to see the detailed trend graph for Non-Hispanic Black 0.5 (0.2 - 0.8)
HispanicClick to see the detailed trend graph for Hispanic 1.1 (0.5 - 1.7)
By Age
Initiation of the use of smokeless tobacco among children, adolescents and young adults by age at initiation, 2008-2013
Overview Graph Detailed Trend Graphs Most Recent Estimates (2013)
Percent Confidence Interval
Thumbnail of graph for Initiation of the use of smokeless tobacco among children, adolescents and young adults by age at initiation, 2008-2013 Ages 12-17Click to see the detailed trend graph for Ages 12-17 2.0 (1.7 - 2.3)
Ages 18-25Click to see the detailed trend graph for Ages 18-25 1.8 (1.5 - 2.1)

Cigars

Ages 12-17 by Sex
Initiation of the use of cigars among children and adolescents aged 12-17 years by sex, 2008-2013
Overview Graph Detailed Trend Graphs Most Recent Estimates (2013)
Percent Confidence Interval
Thumbnail of graph for Initiation of the use of cigars among children and adolescents aged 12-17 years by sex, 2008-2013 Both SexesClick to see the detailed trend graph for Both Sexes 3.1 (2.8 - 3.4)
MaleClick to see the detailed trend graph for Male 3.9 (3.4 - 4.4)
FemaleClick to see the detailed trend graph for Female 2.3 (2.0 - 2.6)
Ages 18-25 by Sex
Initiation of the use of cigars among young adults aged 18-25 years by sex, 2008-2013
Overview Graph Detailed Trend Graphs Most Recent Estimates (2013)
Percent Confidence Interval
Thumbnail of graph for Initiation of the use of cigars among young adults aged 18-25 years by sex, 2008-2013 Both SexesClick to see the detailed trend graph for Both Sexes 5.9 (5.4 - 6.4)
MaleClick to see the detailed trend graph for Male 8.0 (7.0 - 9.0)
FemaleClick to see the detailed trend graph for Female 4.3 (3.7 - 4.9)
Ages 12-17 by Race/Ethnicity
Initiation of the use of cigars among children and adolescents aged 12-17 years by race/ethnicity, 2008-2013
Overview Graph Detailed Trend Graphs Most Recent Estimates (2013)
Percent Confidence Interval
Thumbnail of graph for Initiation of the use of cigars among children and adolescents aged 12-17 years by race/ethnicity, 2008-2013 All RacesClick to see the detailed trend graph for All Races 3.1 (2.8 - 3.4)
Non-Hispanic WhiteClick to see the detailed trend graph for Non-Hispanic White 3.9 (3.5 - 4.3)
Non-Hispanic BlackClick to see the detailed trend graph for Non-Hispanic Black 2.1 (1.4 - 2.8)
HispanicClick to see the detailed trend graph for Hispanic 2.5 (1.8 - 3.2)
Ages 18-25 by Race/Ethnicity
Initiation of the use of cigars among young adults aged 18-25 years by race/ethnicity, 2008-2013
Overview Graph Detailed Trend Graphs Most Recent Estimates (2013)
Percent Confidence Interval
Thumbnail of graph for Initiation of the use of cigars among young adults aged 18-25 years by race/ethnicity, 2008-2013 All RacesClick to see the detailed trend graph for All Races 5.9 (5.4 - 6.4)
Non-Hispanic WhiteClick to see the detailed trend graph for Non-Hispanic White 7.7 (6.9 - 8.5)
Non-Hispanic BlackClick to see the detailed trend graph for Non-Hispanic Black 2.5 (1.7 - 3.3)
HispanicClick to see the detailed trend graph for Hispanic 5.1 (4.0 - 6.2)
By Age
Initiation of the use of cigars among children, adolescents and young adults by age at initiation, 2008-2013
Overview Graph Detailed Trend Graphs Most Recent Estimates (2013)
Percent Confidence Interval
Thumbnail of graph for Initiation of the use of cigars among children, adolescents and young adults by age at initiation, 2008-2013 Ages 12-17Click to see the detailed trend graph for Ages 12-17 3.1 (2.8 - 3.4)
Ages 18-25Click to see the detailed trend graph for Ages 18-25 5.9 (5.4 - 6.4)

Additional Information on Tobacco Use Initiation

For the public

For health professionals

Scientific reports

Statistics

For smokers

Year Range

2002-2013

Recent Summary Trend Year Range

2009-2013

Summary Tables

Smoking

Recent Summary Trend

Falling

Desired Direction

Falling