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About One of Five Delaware Adults
Are Cigarette Smokers in 2012

About 19.7 percent of Delaware adults, age 18 and older, are current cigarette smokers, according to the state's Behavioral Risk Factor Survey (BRFS). About 5 percent of adults smoke on some days, but not every day; and another 14.6 percent smoke every day. Former smokers make up 26.9 percent of the adult population; and 53.4 percent of adults report they have never smoked.

Graph shows about 1 of 5 Delaware adults smoke cigarettes

Trend lines were broken by changes in the BRFS methodology starting in 2011. Due to sampling from cell phones and improved data weighting, the BRFS is now getting a better sample of young adults and some minority populations – resulting in more accurate, but slightly higher, estimates of smoking prevalence. Nevertheless, the trend was steadily downward prior to 2011, and appears to be continuing in a positive, downward direction.

There was no statistically significant difference in smoking prevalence between men and women.  Adults with physical disabilities were slightly more likely to smoke—25 percent of adults with disabilities reported currently smoking cigarettes.  The breakdowns by gender, age, race/ethnicity, and education are in the following tables:

Cigarette Smoking by Gender, 2012
Gender Current Smokers Every Day Smokers Some Day Smokers
Male 20.7%
(CI = 18.2-23.2%)
15.5% 5.1%
Female 18.9%
(CI = 16.9-20.9%)
13.8% 5%


Cigarette Smoking by Race/Ethnicity, 2012
Race/Ethnicity Current Smokers Every Day Smokers Some Day Smokers
Non-Hispanic White 20.9%
(CI = 19.1-22.7%)
16.2% 4.7%
African American 19.7%
(CI = 15.8-23.6%)
13.1% 6.6%
Hispanic/Latino 15%
(CI = 8.1-21.9%)
9.8% 5.2%


Cigarette Smoking by Education, 2012
Educational Level Current Smokers Every Day Smokers Some Day Smokers
Less Than High School 32.8%
(CI = 26.1-39.5%)
28.5% 4.3%
High School / G.E.D. 23.4%
(CI = 20.5-26.3%)
18.1% 5.3%
Some Post-H.S. 19.5%
(CI = 16.8-22.2%)
12.9% 6.6%
College Graduate 8.8%
(CI = 7.2-10.4%)
5.2% 3.5%


Cigarette Smoking by Age, 2012
Age Group Current Smokers Every Day Smokers Some Day Smokers
18 - 24 21.3%
(CI = 16.2-26.4%)
14.8% 6.4%
25 - 34 27.9%
(CI = 22.8-33%)
19.5% 8.4%
35 - 44 22.9%
(CI = 18.6-27.2%)
17.1% 5.8%
45 - 54 23.4%
(CI = 19.7-27.1%)
18.5% 4.9%
55 - 64 16.9%
(CI = 13.8-20%)
13.1% 3.9%
65 and Older  8.9%
(CI = 7.1-10.7%)
 6.7%  2.3%

Steadily declining high school smoking rates during the past decade have now resulted in lower smoking prevalence among the young adults (18-24 years old, as high school graduates have moved into the adult population. According to the 2011 Youth Risk Behavioral Survey, conducted in Delaware public schools, only 18.3 percent of high school students had smoked during the past month, and only 7.6 percent of high school students were regular smokers. That was a decrease from 32.2 percent and 17.7 percent, respectively, in 1999.

Quit Attempts

More than half of all smokers (57.5 percent) said they had stopped smoking for at least a day during the past year "because they were trying to quit smoking." There was no statistically significant difference between men and women for quit attempts. However, younger adults (age 18-34) were more likely to report trying to quit than older adults. African American smokers were significantly more likely to report trying to quit. Three out of four African American smokers (75.1 percent) reported at least one quit attempt, compared to half (51.6 percent) of white smokers.

Other Tobacco Products

Respondents were also asked if they currently use smokeless tobacco products—such as chewing tobacco, snuff or snus (a moist powder tobacco product originally from Sweden). Adult female use of smokeless tobacco products was less than 1 percent in Delaware during 2012. About 4.5 percent of adult men reported using smokeless tobacco either every day or at least on some days.

Smokeless tobacco use was about the same among non-Hispanic white men (5.1 percent) and Hispanic men (5.2 percent); African American men in Delaware were slightly less likely (3.4 percent) to report using chewing tobacco or snuff. Young adult men in the 18-24 age group were most likely to use or experiment with smokeless tobacco. Total prevalence among 12-24 year olds was 10.7 percent, and this group had a much higher prevalence of some-day users (6 percent) than any other age group.

[Source: Delaware Health and Social Services, Division of Public Health, Behavioral Risk Factor Survey (BRFS), 2012]

Note: Rates are calculated separately for total smoking, some-day smoking, and every-day smoking; and minor discrepancies may occur due to rounding.  CI = confidence interval; cells with a confidence interval half-width greater than 10 are not used.  If the confidence intervals overlap, the differences are usually not statistically significant.

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