Question

Quit Smoking

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

A Answers (4)

  • AMichael Roizen, MD, Internal Medicine, answered
    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.

  • ARobert Kaufmann, MD, Internal Medicine, answered

    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.

  • AJoseph Miller, MD, Thoracic Surgery (Cardiothoracic Vascular), answered on behalf of Piedmont Heart Institute
    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.
  • AMehmet Oz, MD, Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease), answered
    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.
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.
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How many people in the United States smoke?