On average, at what age do people in the U.S. start smoking?

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
As you might have guessed, most smokers try their first cigarette before they are 18 years old. In the 12-17 age group, the average age of first use is 15.1 years. In the 18-25 age group, the average age of first use is 18.9. This is the reason we urge kids to never start. The younger you are when you first start smoking, the greater your risk for developing nicotine dependence and cancer.
Robert S. Kaufmann, MD
Internal Medicine

It used to be around 14 or 15, kids trying to be cool or trying to show off for other people.  Most likely people start smoking when they first recognize people around them smoking which is usually their teenage years.

Dr. Michael Roizen, MD
Internal Medicine
I believe the average age for starting to smoke in the United States is a high school senior, age 18, but the range is from age 12 to age 35.

Joseph I. Miller Jr., MD
Thoracic Surgery (Cardiothoracic Vascular)
Approximately 80-90 percent of smokers start smoking before the age of 18. This can be from social pressure, stigma to be more like adults, or match popular mentors.

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Quit Smoking

Quit Smoking

Smoking tobacco products can lead to severe health problems and even death. While quitting smoking can be very difficult for some smokers, there are smoking cessation programs and medications that can help smokers quit. There are ...

many lifelong benefits of doing so, like increased lung function and decreased risk of heart disease and cancer. Understanding the importance of quitting smoking and all options available to help stop smoking is key to long-term success.
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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.