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Am J Public Health. 2008 Feb;98(2):317-22. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2007.112060. Epub 2008 Jan 2.

Smoking cessation rates in the United States: a comparison of young adult and older smokers.

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Cancer Prevention and Control Program, Moores UCSD Cancer Center, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92093-0901, USA.



We compared smoking quit rates by age in a nationally representative sample to determine differences in cessation rates among younger and older adults.


We used data on recent dependent smokers aged 18 to 64 years from the 2003 Tobacco Use Supplement to the Current Population Survey (n=31625).


Young adults (aged 18-24 years) were more likely than were older adults (aged 35-64 years) to report having seriously tried to quit (84% vs 66%, P<.01) and to have quit for 6 months or longer (8.5% vs 5.0%, P<.01). Among those who seriously tried to quit, a smoke-free home was associated with quitting for 6 months or longer (odds ratio [OR]=4.13; 95% confidence interval [CI]=3.25, 5.26). Compared with older smokers, young adults were more likely to have smoke-free homes (43% vs 30%, P<.01), were less likely to use pharmaceutical aids (9.8% vs 23.7%, P<.01), and smoked fewer cigarettes per day (13.2% vs 17.4%, P<.01).


Young adults were more likely than were older adults to quit smoking successfully. This could be explained partly by young adults, more widespread interest in quitting, higher prevalence of smoke-free homes, and lower levels of dependence. High cessation rates among young adults may also reflect changing social norms.

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