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Table 2.16. Mean age (years and 95% confidence interval) at smoking initiation of regular smoking for selected birth cohorts, by gender and race or ethnicity, United States, 1931-1962

Birth cohortAll womenWhite, non-Hispanic womenBlack, non-Hispanic womenHispanic womenAll men
1931-194019.3 (±0.2)19.2 (±0.2)20.0 (±0.5)NA * 17.6 (±0.1)
1940-194918.5 (±0.3)18.4 (±0.3)19.0 (±0.7)18.8 (±0.5)17.2 (±0.2)
1949-195818.1 (±0.2)17.9 (±0.2)18.8 (±1.4)18.9 (±0.8)17.3 (±0.2)
1953-196217.7 (±0.3)17.5 (±0.3)18.6 (±1.1)18.4 (±1.4)16.9 (±0.4)

Note: Smoking initiation is based on response to the question, "How old were you when you first started smoking cigarettes fairly regularly?" Respondents were women aged 30-39 years in National Health Interview Surveys in 1970-1992 (e.g., women born in 1931-1962). Some birth cohorts overlap slightly, reflecting years that data were available.


NA = Not available. Ethnicity was not determined in 1970, so for women born 1931-1940, estimates for whites and for blacks likely include data for some persons of Hispanic origin.Sources: National Center for Health Statistics, public use data tapes, 1970, 1979, 1988 , 1992.

From: Chapter 2. Patterns of Tobacco Use Among Women and Girls

Cover of Women and Smoking
Women and Smoking: A Report of the Surgeon General.
Office on Smoking and Health (US).

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