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2005 Adult Smoking Prevalence Lowest on Record in Delaware

Image: graph of BRFS data on smoking prevalence of adult Delawareans showing15.5% every-day smokers and 5.2% some-days smokers.

The prevalence of cigarette smoking among Delaware adults has dropped to the lowest level since the Delaware Behavioral Risk Factor Survey (BRFS) began collecting data in 1982.

Data from the 2005 Delaware BRFS show about one of every five Delaware adults (20.7%) now smokes cigarettes — down from a fourth of the population during most of the past decade. About 15.5% of adults are every-day smokers; and another 5.2% smoke some days. The "some-day smokers" group includes new smokers who are not yet addicted, regular smokers; but also includes smokers who are cutting back or trying to quit.

Adult Smoking Trend in Delaware
Image: trend graph shows decline in adult smoking from 26.6% in 1997 to 20.7% in2005.

During the same period, youth smoking has been decreasing at an even greater rate. The graph below shows current smoking (defined as any smoking during the past month) among Delaware public high school students.

High School Smoking Trend in Delaware
Image: graph showing decrease in current smoking among high school students from35% in 1997 to 21.2% in 2005.

Source: Delaware Department of Education, Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS), 1997-2005

Delaware's reduction in smoking prevalence comes after seven years of a comprehensive, coordinated tobacco prevention effort involving state, private and non-profit organizations. Lisa McKenzie, coordinator of the Division's Tobacco Prevention and Control Program, said the effort involves smoking cessation programs, school-based education and youth groups, community programs, policy and environmental changes such as the state's successful Clean Indoor Air Act, and social marketing campaigns to provide information and education to the public.

For more information on tobacco use in Delaware, go to our Tobacco Prevention and Control Program pages.

Adult Smoking: 2005
% Smoking-Related Behavior
20.7% Percent of adult Delawareans (age 18 and older) who are current cigarette smokers
15.5% Percent of adult Delawareans who smoke cigarettes daily
5.2% Percent of adult Delawareans who smoke some days, but not every day
26.9% Percent of adult Delawareans who are former smokers
52.4% Percent of adult Delawareans who never smoked
22.5% Percent of adult male smokers in Delaware
19% Percent of adult female smokers in Delaware
20.9% Percent of non-Hispanic white adult smokers in Delaware
20.7% Percent of non-Hispanic African American or black adult smokers in Delaware
23.3% Percent of Hispanic adult smokers in Delaware; of these 9.6% say they smoke only on some days
25.5% Percent of 18-24 year-old smokers in Delaware
24.1% Percent of Delaware adults with annual incomes under $15,000 who smoke
35.7% Percent of Delaware adults with less than a high school education who smoke
70.2% Percent of adult smokers who report their doctor or health care provider advised them to quit smoking within the past year
33% Percent of adult smokers who report their doctor or health care provider discussed medications to help them quit smoking
55.5% Percent of smokers who tried to quit smoking for at least a day or more during the past year

County Breakdowns for 2005




New Castle


Current Smokers* 20.7% 23.6% 19.2% 22.8%

* includes both "every day" and "some days" smokers.

Source for all data, except where otherwise noted: Delaware Health and Social Services, Division of Public Health, Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), 2003.