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Americans’ Current Views on Smoking 2013: An AARP Bulletin Survey

With an interest in learning more about adults’ views on smoking and on behalf of the AARP Bulletin, in September 2013, AARP Research fielded a short telephone survey among a nationally representative sample of 1,006 individuals age 18 and older.  

Key findings include:

  • Just over half of adults of all ages (56%) report that they have never smoked, while one-quarter (25%) report that they are former smokers.  Almost one in five (18%) acknowledge they are current smokers.
  • Among current smokers, over half (55%) say that they would like to quit smoking.  However, this differs by age group with older smokers age 50+ (67%) more likely to say they would like to quit than younger smokers age 18-49 (47%). 
  • More than eight in ten (84%) respondents agree that smoking is extremely harmful (55%) or very harmful (29%) to adults.
  • When asked whether smoking should be banned in all public places, almost seven in ten (67%) either strongly agreed (55%) or somewhat agreed (12%) that smoking should be banned.  
  • When asked whether tobacco products should be taxed to support health care costs, almost seven in ten (69%) either strongly agreed (51%) or somewhat agreed (18%) that tobacco products should be taxed.
  • When asked whether smokers should pay higher health insurance rates, slightly more than half (55%) either strongly agreed (38%) or somewhat agreed (17%) that smokers should pay higher health insurance rates.  
  • When asked whether smokers should pay higher life insurance rates, slightly more than half (57%) either strongly agreed (38%) or somewhat agreed (19%) that smokers should pay higher health insurance rates.  

The survey was fielded from September 11 to September 15, 2013. At the conclusion of the fielding period, responses had been received from 1,006 adults age 18 and older. Throughout the report, results are presented using weighted data figures.  For more information, contact Albert Hollenbeck, Ph.D., at 202-434-6280.


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