We calculate the U.S. adult smoking cessation rate for 2014-2019, compare it to the historical trend, and estimate the implication for future smoking prevalence.
We repeated an earlier analysis, which examined the cessation rate from 1990-2014, extending the period to 2019. Employing National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) and National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) data, we estimated the adult cessation rate in six-year intervals, using weighted non-linear least squares. We then employed a meta-regression model to test whether the cessation rate has increased beyond expectation. We used cessation rate estimates and smoking initiation rate estimates to project smoking prevalence in 2030 and eventual steady-state prevalence.
The annual cessation rate increased 29% using NHIS data (from 4.2% in 2008-2013 to 5.4% in 2014-2019) and 33% with NSDUH data (4.2% to 5.6%). The cessation rate increase accounts for 60% of a smoking prevalence decline in the most recent period exceeding the 1990-2013 predicted trend. The remaining 40% owes to declining smoking initiation. With current initiation and cessation rates, smoking prevalence should fall to 8.3% in 2030 and eventually reach a steady state of 3.53%.
The smoking cessation rate continued to increase during 2014-2019. NHIS and NSDUH results are practically identical. The larger share (60%) of the smoking prevalence decrease, beyond expectation, attributable to the increased cessation rate is encouraging since the positive health effects of cessation occur much sooner than those derived from declining initiation.
The smoking cessation rate in the U.S. continues to increase, accelerating the decline in smoking prevalence. This increase suggests that the Healthy People 2030 goal of 5% adult smoking prevalence, while ambitious, is attainable. Our findings can be used in simulation and statistical models that aim to predict future prevalence and population health effects due to smoking under various scenarios.