Substance Abuse > Chapter 3, Part A - Substance Abuse Trends

III. Substance Abuse Trends( Part A )

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) provides current trends of substance use and abuse through their reports on the National Survey on Drug Use and Health. This report is included here. The report provides some very interesting material on various demographic aspects and frequency of substance abuse in the United States.

A. Illicit Drug Use

The National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) obtains information on nine categories of illicit drug use: use of marijuana, cocaine, heroin, hallucinogens, and inhalants, as well as the nonmedical use of preblockedion-type pain relievers, tranquilizers, stimulants, and sedatives. In these categories, hashish is included with marijuana, and crack is considered a form of cocaine. Several drugs are grouped under the hallucinogens category, including LSD, PCP, peyote, mescaline, psilocybin mushrooms, and "Ecstasy" (MDMA). Inhalants include a variety of substances, such as nitrous oxide, amyl nitrite, cleaning fluids, gasoline, spray paint, other aerosol sprays, and glue. Respondents are asked to report use of inhalants to get high but not to report times when they accidentally inhaled a substance.

The four categories of preblockedion-type drugs (pain relievers, tranquilizers, stimulants, and sedatives) cover numerous medications that currently are or have been available by preblockedion. They also include drugs within these groupings that originally were preblockedion medications but currently may be manufactured and distributed illegally, such as methamphetamine, which is included under stimulants. Respondents are asked to report only "nonmedical" use of these drugs, defined as use without a preblockedion of the individual's own or simply for the experience or feeling the drugs caused. Use of over-the-counter drugs and legitimate use of preblockedion drugs are not included. NSDUH reports combine the four preblockedion-type drug groups into a category referred to as "psychotherapeutics."

[Qn.No.10.The four types of preblockedion-type drugs group into a category referred to as :]

Estimates of "illicit drug use" reported from NSDUH reflect the use of any of the nine drug categories listed above. Use of alcohol and tobacco products, while illegal for youths, is not included in these estimates, but is discussed in Chapters 3 and 4.

  • In 2012, an estimated 23.9 million Americans aged 12 or older were current (past month) illicit drug users, meaning they had used an illicit drug during the month prior to the survey interview (Figure 2.1). This estimate represents 9.2 percent of the population aged 12 or older.
  • The overall rate of current illicit drug use among persons aged 12 or older in 2012 (9.2 percent) was similar to the rates in 2009 to 2011 (ranging from 8.7 to 8.9 percent), but it was higher than the rates in the years from 2002 to 2008 (Figure 2.2).
  • In 2012, marijuana was the most commonly used illicit drug, with 18.9 million users. It was used by 79.0 percent of current illicit drug users. About two thirds (62.8 percent) of illicit drug users used only marijuana in the past month. Also, in 2012, 8.9 million persons aged 12 or older were current users of illicit drugs other than marijuana (or 37.2 percent of illicit drug users aged 12 or older). Current use of other drugs but not marijuana was reported by 21.0 percent, and 16.2 percent of illicit drug users reported using both marijuana and other drugs.
[Qn.No.11. Which illicit drug is used by the most people:]



  • The number and percentage of persons aged 12 or older who were current users of marijuana in 2012 (18.9 million or 7.3 percent) were similar to the estimates for 2011 (18.1 million or 7.0 percent). The 2012 rate of current marijuana use also was similar to the rate in 2010 (6.9 percent), but it was higher than rates from 2002 to 2009. Between 2007 and 2012, for example, the rate of use increased from 5.8 to 7.3 percent, and the number of users increased from 14.5 million to 18.9 million.
  • An estimated 8.9 million persons aged 12 or older (3.4 percent) were current users of illicit drugs other than marijuana in 2012. The majority of these users (6.8 million persons or 2.6 percent of the population) were nonmedical users of psychotherapeutic drugs, including 4.9 million users of pain relievers, 2.1 million users of tranquilizers, 1.2 million users of stimulants, and 270,000 users of sedatives.
  • The percentage of persons aged 12 or older who were current nonmedical users of psychotherapeutic drugs in 2012 (2.6 percent) was similar to the percentage in 2011 (2.4 percent) and all years from 2002 through 2010 (ranging from 2.5 to 2.9 percent) (Figure 2.2)
  • The number of persons aged 12 or older who were current nonmedical users of psychotherapeutic drugs in 2012 (6.8 million) was higher than the number in 2011 (6.1 million), but it was similar to the numbers in 2005 to 2010.




  • The number and percentage of persons aged 12 or older who were current nonmedical users of pain relievers in 2012 (4.9 million or 1.9 percent) were similar to those in 2011 (4.5 million or 1.7 percent) and in 2007 to 2010 (ranging from 4.7 million to 5.3 million and from 1.9 to 2.1 percent) (Figure 2.3).
  • The number of persons aged 12 or older who were current nonmedical users of the pain reliever OxyContin eclined from 566,000 in 2010 to 358,000 in 2012.
  • The number and percentage of persons aged 12 or older who were current nonmedical users of stimulants in 2012 (1.2 million or 0.5 percent) were similar to those in 2011 (970,000 or 0.4 percent), 2010 (1.1 million or 0.4 percent), and 2009 (1.3 million or 0.5 percent).
  • The number and percentage of persons aged 12 or older who were current users of methamphetamine in 2012 (440,000 or 0.2 percent) were similar to those in 2011 (439,000 or 0.2 percent) and in 2007 to 2010 (ranging from 314,000 to 530,000 and from 0.1 to 0.2 percent). However, the number and percentage in 2012 were lower than in 2006 (731,000 or 0.3 percent)




  • The number and percentage of persons aged 12 or older who were current users of cocaine in 2012 (1.6 million or 0.6 percent) were similar to those in 2011 (1.4 million or 0.5 percent) and in 2008 to 2010 (ranging from 1.5 million to 1.9 million and from 0.6 to 0.7 percent), but they were lower than those from 2003 through 2007 (ranging from 2.0 million to 2.4 million and from 0.8 to 1.0 percent) (Figure 2.2). The percentage of persons in 2012 who were current users of cocaine also was lower than the percentage in 2002 (0.9 percent), but the numbers of current users in 2012 and 2002 were similar (1.6 million and 2.0 million, respectively).
  • The number and percentage of persons aged 12 or older who were current heroin users in 2012 (335,000 or 0.1 percent) were similar to those in 2011 (281,000 or 0.1 percent), but they were higher than those in 2002 through 2005 (166,000 or 0.1 percent in 2002; 119,000 or 0.1 percent in 2003; 166,000 or 0.1 percent in 2004; and 136,000 or 0.1 percent in 2005), 2007 (161,000 or 0.1 percent), and 2009 (193,000 or 0.1 percent) (Figure 2.4). Recent increases in the use of heroin were also evident in the estimate of past year heroin use.
  • The number and percentage of persons aged 12 or older who were current users of hallucinogens in 2012 (1.1 million or 0.4 percent) were similar to those in 2002 to 2011 (Figure 2.2).




Age

  • In 2012, the rate of current illicit drug use varied by age. Among youths aged 12 to 17 in 2012, the rate increased from 3.5 percent at ages 12 or 13 to 8.2 percent at ages 14 or 15 to 16.6 percent at ages 16 or 17 (Figure 2.5). The highest rate of current illicit drug use was among 18 to 20 year olds (23.9 percent), with the next highest rate occurring among 21 to 25 year olds (19.7 percent). Thereafter, the rate generally declined with age, although not all declines between consecutive age groups were significant.

  • [QN No.12. Illicit drugs are used by a higher percentage of what age group:]
  • In 2012, adults aged 26 or older were less likely to be current users of illicit drugs (7.0 percent) than youths aged 12 to 17 (9.5 percent) or young adults aged 18 to 25 (21.3 percent) (Figure 2.6). However, the number and percentage of current illicit drug users among adults aged 26 or older increased from 12.6 million (6.3 percent) in 2011 to 14.1 million (7.0 percent) in 2012. Additionally, in 2012 there were more current users of illicit drugs aged 26 or older (14.1 million) than users aged 12 to 17 (2.4 million) and users aged 18 to 25 (7.4 million) combined.





Youths Aged 12 to 17

  • In 2012, 9.5 percent of youths aged 12 to 17 were current illicit drug users (Figure 2.7). This rate was similar to the rates of current illicit drug use among 12 to 17 years olds in 2005 to 2011, but it was lower than the rates from 2002 to 2004.
  • In 2012, 7.2 percent of youths aged 12 to 17 were current users of marijuana, 2.8 percent were current nonmedical users of psychotherapeutic drugs, 0.8 percent were current users of inhalants, 0.6 percent were current users of hallucinogens, and 0.1 percent were current users of cocaine.
  • Among youths aged 12 to 17, the specific types of illicit drugs used in the past month varied by age in 2012 (Figure 2.8). Among 12 or 13 year olds, 1.7 percent used psychotherapeutic drugs nonmedically (with 1.5 percent using pain relievers nonmedically), 1.2 percent used marijuana, and 0.9 percent used inhalants. Among 14 or 15 year olds, 6.1 percent used marijuana, 2.5 percent used psychotherapeutic drugs nonmedically (with 2.2 percent using pain relievers nonmedically), 0.7 percent used inhalants, and 0.5 percent used hallucinogens. Among 16 or 17 year olds, 14.0 percent used marijuana, 4.0 percent used psychotherapeutic drugs nonmedically (with 3.1 percent using pain relievers nonmedically), 1.2 percent used hallucinogens, 0.7 percent used inhalants, and 0.2 percent used cocaine. The percentage of youths aged 16 or 17 in 2012 who were current users of cocaine was lower than in 2011 (0.5 percent).
  • The rate of current illicit drug use among 12 to 17 year olds declined between 2002 (11.6 percent) and 2008 (9.3 percent), increased to 10.1 percent in 2009, and remained at 10.1 percent in 2010 and 2011 (Figure 2.7). The rate in 2012 (9.5 percent) was similar to these rates since 2009. Current marijuana use declined from 8.2 percent in 2002 to 6.7 percent in 2008, then increased to 7.9 percent in 2011 before decreasing again to 7.2 percent in 2012. Current nonmedical use of psychotherapeutic drugs declined from 4.0 percent in 2002 and 2003 to 2.8 percent in 2011 and 2012. This includes a decrease in the prevalence of current nonmedical use of pain relievers from 3.2 percent in 2002 and 2003 to 2.2 percent in 2012.


Young Adults Aged 18 to 25

  • In 2012, the rate of current illicit drug use was higher among young adults aged 18 to 25 (21.3 percent) than among youths aged 12 to 17 (9.5 percent) and adults aged 26 or older (7.0 percent) (Figure 2.6). Among young adults aged 18 to 25, the 2012 rate was similar to the rates in 2009 to 2011 (ranging from 21.4 to 21.6 percent), but it was higher than the rates in 2004 to 2008 (ranging from 19.4 to 20.1 percent) and in 2002 (20.2 percent) (Figure 2.9).
  • Among young adults aged 18 to 25, the 2012 rate of current marijuana use (18.7 percent) was similar to rates in 2009 to 2011 (ranging from 18.2 to 19.0 percent), but it was higher than the rates in 2002 to 2008 (ranging from 16.1 to 17.3 percent) ( Figure 2.9).
  • In 2012, the rate of current nonmedical use of psychotherapeutic drugs among young adults aged 18 to 25 was 5.3 percent, which was similar to the rates in 2010 and 2011, but it was lower than the rates in 2003 to 2007 (Figure 2.9). The rate of current nonmedical use of pain relievers among young adults in 2012 (3.8 percent) was similar to the 2011 rate (3.6 percent), but it was lower than the rates between 2003 (4.7 percent) and 2010 (4.4 percent).
  • In 2012, the rate of current cocaine use among young adults aged 18 to 25 was 1.1 percent, which was similar to the rates in 2009 and 2011, but it was lower than the rates from 2002 through 2008 and 2010 ( Figure 2.9).






Adults Aged 26 or Older

  • In 2012, the rate of current illicit drug use among adults aged 26 or older was 7.0 percent, including rates of 5.3 percent for current use of marijuana and 2.1 percent for current nonmedical use of psychotherapeutic drugs. Less than 1 percent of adults in this age group were current users of cocaine (0.6 percent), hallucinogens (0.2 percent), heroin (0.1 percent), and inhalants (0.1 percent). The 2012 rate of current illicit drug use was higher than the rate in 2011 and in 2002 through 2009. The 2012 rate of current marijuana use was similar to the rates in 2010 and 2011 (4.8 percent in each year), but it was higher than the rates from 2002 through 2009.
  • Among adults aged 50 to 64, the rate of current illicit drug use has increased during the past decade. For adults aged 50 to 54, the rate increased from 3.4 percent in 2002 to 7.2 percent in 2012 (Figure 2.10). Among those aged 55 to 59, the rate of current illicit drug use increased from 1.9 percent in 2002 to 6.6 percent in 2012. Among those aged 60 to 64, the rate increased from 1.1 percent in 2003 to 3.6 percent in 2012. These patterns and trends partially reflect the aging into these age groups of members of the baby boom cohort, whose rates of illicit drug use have been higher than those of older cohorts. The baby boom cohort refers to persons born in the United States after World War II between 1946 and 1964 (Han, Gfroerer, & Colliver, 2009a). Chapter 8 discusses additional trends in marijuana use and nonmedical use of preblockedion psychotherapeutic drugs among this age group.




Gender

  • In 2012, as in prior years, the rate of current illicit drug use among persons aged 12 or older was higher for males (11.6 percent) than for females (6.9 percent). Males were more likely than females to be current users of several different illicit drugs, including marijuana (9.6 vs. 5.0 percent), nonmedical users of psychotherapeutic drugs (2.8 vs. 2.4 percent), cocaine (1.0 vs. 0.3 percent), and hallucinogens (0.6 vs. 0.3 percent).
  • In 2012, the rates of current illicit drug use were similar among males and females aged 12 to 17 (9.6 and 9.5 percent, respectively). This pattern represents a change from 2011, when the prevalence of current illicit drug use was higher for males than for females in this age group (10.8 vs. 9.3 percent). In 2012, females aged 12 to 17 were more likely than males to be current nonmedical users of psychotherapeutic drugs (3.2 vs. 2.4 percent).
  • The rate of current marijuana use among males aged 12 to 17 declined from 9.1 percent in 2002 to 6.9 percent in 2006, then increased between 2006 and 2009 (8.4 percent); rates remained stable after 2009 (8.4 percent in 2010 and 9.0 percent in 2011) before decreasing in 2012 to 7.5 percent (Figure 2.11). Among females aged 12 to 17, the rate of current marijuana use changed little between 2002 (7.2 percent) and 2004 (7.1 percent), then declined to 5.8 percent in 2007 before increasing in 2012 to 7.0 percent.

  • [QN.No.13.As opposed to popular opinion, more girls between the ages of 12 and 17 use marijuana than boys of the same age]




Pregnant Women

  • Among pregnant women aged 15 to 44, 5.9 percent were current illicit drug users based on data averaged across 2011 and 2012. This was lower than the rate among women in this age group who were not pregnant (10.7 percent). Among pregnant women aged 15 to 44, the average rate of current illicit drug use in 2011-2012 (5.9 percent) was not significantly different from the rate averaged across 2009-2010 (4.4 percent).
  • The rate of current illicit drug use in the combined 2011-2012 data was 18.3 percent among pregnant women aged 15 to 17, 9.0 percent among pregnant women aged 18 to 25, and 3.4 percent among pregnant women aged 26 to 44. These rates were not significantly different from those in the combined 2009-2010 data (15.7 percent among pregnant women aged 15 to 17, 7.4 percent among pregnant women aged 18 to 25, and 1.9 percent among pregnant women aged 26 to 44).


Race/Ethnicity

  • In 2012, among persons aged 12 or older, the rate of current illicit drug use was 3.7 percent among Asians, 7.8 percent among Native Hawaiians or Other Pacific Islanders, 8.3 percent among Hispanics, 9.2 percent among whites, 11.3 percent among blacks, 12.7 percent among American Indians or Alaska Natives, and 14.8 percent among persons of two or more races.
  • There were no statistically significant differences in the rates of current illicit drug use between 2011 and 2012 or between 2002 and 2012 for any of the racial/ethnic groups, except for whites and blacks. Between 2002 and 2012, the current illicit drug use rate increased from 8.5 to 9.2 percent for whites and from 9.7 to 11.3 percent for blacks (Figure 2.12).


Education

  • Illicit drug use in 2012 varied by the educational status of adults aged 18 or older. The rate of current illicit drug use was lower among college graduates (6.6 percent) than those with some college education (10.2 percent), high school graduates who did not attend college (9.8 percent), and those who had not graduated from high school (11.1 percent). Additionally, the 2012 rate of current illicit drug use among college graduates aged 18 or older was higher than the 2011 rate of 5.4 percent.


College Students

  • In 2012, the rate of current use of illicit drugs was 22.0 percent among full-time college students aged 18 to 22. This was similar to the rate among other persons aged 18 to 22 (24.0 percent), which included part-time college students, students in other grades or types of institutions, and nonstudents.
  • In 2012, about one quarter (24.9 percent) of male full-time college students aged 18 to 22 were current users of illicit drugs. This rate was higher than the rate of current illicit drug use among female full-time college students aged 18 to 22 (19.4 percent). Similarly, 23.5 percent of male full-time college students aged 18 to 22 were current marijuana users compared with 16.1 percent of female full-time college students aged 18 to 22.
  • Among full-time college students aged 18 to 22 in 2012, the rate of current illicit drug use was 13.2 percent for Asians, 20.6 percent for Hispanics, 22.7 percent for whites, and 25.6 percent for blacks.




Employment

  • Current illicit drug use differed by employment status in 2012. Among adults aged 18 or older, the rate of current illicit drug use was higher for those who were unemployed (18.1 percent) than for those who were employed full time (8.9 percent), employed part time (12.5 percent), or "other" (6.3 percent) (which includes students, persons keeping house or caring for children full time, retired or disabled persons, or other persons not in the labor force) (Figure 2.13). The percentage of adults employed full time who were current illicit drug users increased between 2011 (8.0 percent) and 2012 (8.9 percent).
  • Although the rate of current illicit drug use was higher among unemployed persons in 2012 than it was among those who were employed full time, employed part time, or in the "other" employment category, most of these users were employed. Of the 21.5 million current illicit drug users aged 18 or older in 2012, 14.6 million (67.9 percent) were employed either full or part time.





Geographic Area

  • Among persons aged 12 or older, the rate of current illicit drug use in 2012 was 11.7 percent in the West, 9.6 percent in the Northeast, 8.6 percent in the Midwest, and 7.7 percent in the South.
  • In 2012, the rate of current illicit drug use among persons aged 12 or older was 9.9 percent in large metropolitan areas, 9.2 percent in small metropolitan areas, and 6.8 percent in nonmetropolitan areas (Figure 2.14). Within nonmetropolitan areas, the rate was 8.3 percent in urbanized counties, 5.9 percent in less urbanized counties, and 4.8 percent in completely rural counties.





Criminal Justice Populations

  • In 2012, an estimated 1.5 million adults aged 18 or older were on parole or other supervised release from prison at some time during the past year. About one quarter of these (25.6 percent) were current illicit drug users, with 18.1 percent reporting current use of marijuana and 7.0 percent reporting current nonmedical use of psychotherapeutic drugs. These rates were higher than those reported by adults aged 18 or older who were not on parole or supervised release during the past year (9.0 percent for illicit drug use, 7.2 percent for marijuana use, and 2.6 percent for nonmedical use of psychotherapeutic drugs).
  • In 2012, an estimated 5.0 million adults aged 18 or older were on probation at some time during the past year. More than one quarter (30.2 percent) were current illicit drug users, with 25.1 percent reporting current use of marijuana and 10.1 percent reporting current nonmedical use of psychotherapeutic drugs. These rates were higher than those reported by adults who were not on probation during the past year (8.7 percent for illicit drug use, 6.9 percent for marijuana use, and 2.4 percent for nonmedical use of psychotherapeutic drugs).



Frequency of Marijuana Use

  • In 2012, 5.4 million persons aged 12 or older used marijuana on a daily or almost daily basis in the past 12 months (i.e., on 300 or more days in that period), which was an increase from the 3.1 million daily or almost daily marijuana users in 2006 (Figure 2.15). The number of daily or almost daily users of marijuana in 2012 represented 17.0 percent of past year users.
  • In 2012, 7.6 million persons aged 12 or older used marijuana on 20 or more days in the past month, which was an increase from the 5.1 million daily or almost daily past month users in 2007 (Figure 2.15). The number of daily or almost daily users in 2012 represented 40.3 percent of past month marijuana users.





Association with Cigarette and Alcohol Use

  • In 2012, the rate of current illicit drug use among youths aged 12 to 17 who smoked cigarettes in the past month was approximately 8.5 times higher than the rate among those who did not smoke cigarettes in the past month (54.6 vs. 6.4 percent).
  • In 2012, the rate of current illicit drug use was associated with the level of past month alcohol use. Among youths aged 12 to 17 who were heavy drinkers (i.e., consumed five or more drinks on the same occasion on each of 5 or more days in the past 30 days), 67.9 percent were current illicit drug users, which was higher than the rate among those who were not current alcohol users (5.2 percent). Additionally, among youths aged 12 to 17 who were binge but not heavy alcohol users (i.e., consumed five or more drinks on the same occasion on 1 to 4 days in the past 30 days), 42.1 percent were current illicit drug users.
  • In 2012, the rate of current illicit drug use among youths aged 12 to 17 who both smoked cigarettes and drank alcohol in the past month was approximately 15 times higher than the rate among those who neither smoked cigarettes nor drank alcohol in the past month (61.1 vs. 4.0 percent). However, the 2012 rate of current illicit drug use among youths aged 12 to 17 who both smoked cigarettes and drank alcohol decreased from the 2011 rate of 68.7 percent.


Driving Under the Influence of Illicit Drugs

  • In 2012, 10.3 million persons or 3.9 percent of the population aged 12 or older reported driving under the influence of illicit drugs during the past year. The 2012 rate was lower than the 2002 rate (4.7 percent), but it was higher than the 2011 rate (3.7 percent). Across age groups, the rate of driving under the influence of illicit drugs in 2012 was highest among young adults aged 18 to 25 (11.9 percent); this rate for young adults was similar to the rate in 2011 (11.6 percent). Additionally, the rate of driving under the influence of illicit drugs during the past year among adults aged 26 or older increased from 2.4 percent in 2011 to 2.8 percent in 2012.


Source of Preblockedion Drugs

  • Past year nonmedical users of psychotherapeutic drugs are asked how they obtained the drugs they most recently used nonmedically. Rates averaged across 2011 and 2012 show that more than one half of the nonmedical users of pain relievers, tranquilizers, stimulants, and sedatives aged 12 or older got the preblockedion drugs they most recently used "from a friend or relative for free." About 4 in 5 of these nonmedical users who obtained preblockedion drugs from a friend or relative for free indicated that their friend or relative had obtained the drugs from one doctor.
  • Among persons aged 12 or older in 2011-2012 who used pain relievers nonmedically in the past year, 54.0 percent got the pain relievers they most recently used from a friend or relative for free (Figure 2.16). Nearly 1 in 5 (19.7 percent) received them through a preblockedion from one doctor (which was higher than the 17.3 percent in 2009-2010). Another 10.9 percent bought them from a friend or relative. In addition, 4.0 percent of these nonmedical users in 2011-2012 took pain relievers from a friend or relative without asking. An annual average of 4.3 percent got pain relievers from a drug dealer or other stranger; 1.8 percent got pain relievers from more than one doctor; 0.8 percent stole pain relievers from a doctor's office, clinic, hospital, or pharmacy (which was higher than the 0.2 percent in 2009-2010); and 0.2 percent bought the pain relievers on the Internet.
  • Among persons aged 12 or older in 2011-2012 who used pain relievers nonmedically in the past year and indicated that they most recently obtained the drugs from a friend or relative for free, 82.2 percent of the friends or relatives obtained the drugs from just one doctor (Figure 2.16). About 1 in 20 of these past year nonmedical users of pain relievers (5.4 percent) reported that the friend or relative got the pain relievers from another friend or relative for free, 4.1 percent reported that the friend or relative bought the pain relievers from a friend or relative, 1.4 percent reported that the friend or relative bought the pain relievers from a drug dealer or other stranger (which was lower than the 2.3 percent in 2009-2010), 1.3 percent reported that the friend or relative took the pain relievers from another friend or relative without asking, and 0.2 percent reported that the friend or relative bought the pain relievers on the Internet.




B. Alcohol Use

The National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) includes questions about the recency and frequency of consumption of alcoholic beverages, such as beer, wine, whiskey, brandy, and mixed drinks. A "drink" is defined as a can or bottle of beer, a glass of wine or a wine cooler, a shot of liquor, or a mixed drink with liquor in it. Times when the respondent only had a sip or two from a drink are not considered to be consumption. For this report, estimates for the prevalence of alcohol use are reported primarily at three levels defined for both males and females and for all ages as follows:

  • Current (past month) use - At least one drink in the past 30 days.
  • Binge use - Five or more drinks on the same occasion (i.e., at the same time or within a couple of hours of each other) on at least 1 day in the past 30 days.
  • Heavy use - Five or more drinks on the same occasion on each of 5 or more days in the past 30 days.
[Qn.No.14.The estimates for the prevalence of alcohol use levels are reported as:]

 

These levels are not mutually exclusive categories of use; heavy use is included in estimates of binge and current use, and binge use is included in estimates of current use.

This chapter is divided into two main sections. Section 3.1 describes trends and patterns of alcohol use among the population aged 12 or older. Section 3.2 is concerned particularly with the use of alcohol by persons aged 12 to 20. These persons are under the legal drinking age in all 50 States and the District of Columbia.

Alcohol Use among Persons Aged 12 or Older

  • Slightly more than half (52.1 percent) of Americans aged 12 or older reported being current drinkers of alcohol in the 2012 survey, which was similar to the rate in 2011 (51.8 percent). This translates to an estimated 135.5 million current drinkers in 2012.
  • Nearly one quarter (23.0 percent) of persons aged 12 or older in 2012 were binge alcohol users in the 30 days prior to the survey. This translates to about 59.7 million people. The rate in 2012 was similar to the rate in 2011 (22.6 percent).
  • In 2012, heavy drinking was reported by 6.5 percent of the population aged 12 or older, or 17.0 million people. This percentage was similar to the rate of heavy drinking in 2011 (6.2 percent).

Age

  • In 2012, rates of current alcohol use were 2.2 percent among persons aged 12 or 13, 11.1 percent of persons aged 14 or 15, 24.8 percent of 16 or 17 year olds, 45.8 percent of those aged 18 to 20, and 69.2 percent of 21 to 25 year olds (Figure 3.1). These estimates were similar to the rates reported in 2011.
  • The prevalence of current, binge, and heavy alcohol use was lower among adults aged 65 or older (41.2, 8.2, and 2.0 percent, respectively) than among all other adult age groups (Figure 3.1).
  • Rates of binge alcohol use in 2012 were 0.9 percent among 12 or 13 year olds, 5.4 percent among 14 or 15 year olds, 15.0 percent among 16 or 17 year olds, 30.5 percent among persons aged 18 to 20, and peaked at 45.1 percent among those aged 21 to 25. These rates were similar to those in 2011 (1.1, 5.7, 15.0, 31.2, and 45.4 percent, respectively).
  • The rate of binge drinking in 2012 was 39.5 percent for young adults aged 18 to 25. Heavy alcohol use was reported by 12.7 percent of persons aged 18 to 25. These rates were similar to the rates in 2011 (39.8 and 12.1 percent, respectively).
  • The rate of binge drinking among persons aged 65 or older in 2012 was 8.2 percent, and the rate of heavy drinking was 2.0 percent. These rates were similar to the binge and heavy drinking rates in this age group in 2011 (8.3 and 1.7 percent, respectively).
  • The rate of current alcohol use among youths aged 12 to 17 was 12.9 percent in 2012. Youth binge and heavy drinking rates were 7.2 and 1.3 percent, respectively. These rates were all similar to those reported in 2011 (13.3, 7.4, and 1.5 percent, respectively).



Gender

  • In 2012, an estimated 56.5 percent of males aged 12 or older were current drinkers, which was higher than the rate for females (47.9 percent). However, among youths aged 12 to 17, the percentage of males who were current dri nkers (12.6 percent) was similar to the rate for females (13.2 percent).
  • Among young adults aged 18 to 25, an estimated 62.9 percent of males and 57.5 percent of females were current drinkers in 2012. In this age group, 45.8 percent of males and 33.2 percent of females reported binge drinking in 2012 (Figure 3.2). The rate of binge drinking among males aged 18 to 25 was lower in 2012 than in the years from 2002 to 2010. Among females in this age group, however, the rate in 2012 was similar to the rates in the years from 2002 to 2011.
  • Among persons aged 26 or older, an estimated 61.2 percent of males and 50.4 percent of females reported current drinking in 2012.



Pregnant Women

  • Among pregnant women aged 15 to 44 in 2011-2012, an annual average of 8.5 percent reported current alcohol use, 2.7 percent reported binge drinking, and 0.3 percent reported heavy drinking. These rates were lower than the rates for nonpregnant women in the same age group (55.5, 24.7, and 5.2 percent, respectively).


Race/Ethnicity

  • Among persons aged 12 or older, whites and persons reporting two or more races in 2012 were more likely than other racial/ethnic groups to report current use of alcohol (57.4 and 51.9 percent, respectively). The rates were 43.2 percent for blacks, 41.8 percent for Hispanics, 41.7 percent for American Indians or Alaska Natives, and 36.9 percent for Asians (Figure 3.3).
  • The rate of binge alcohol use was lowest among Asians (12.7 percent) (Figure 3.3). Rates for other racial/ethnic groups were 20.6 percent for blacks, 23.2 percent for Hispanics, 23.9 percent for whites, 25.1 percent for persons reporting two or more races, and 30.2 percent for American Indians or Alaska Natives.
  • Among youths aged 12 to 17 in 2012, Asians had lower rates of current alcohol use than any other racial/ethnic group (4.9 percent). Rates of current alcohol use for youths in other racial/ethnic groups were 9.3 percent for blacks, 10.0 percent for American Indians or Alaska Natives, 11.7 percent for those reporting two or more races, 12.8 percent for Hispanics, and 14.6 percent for whites.



Education

  • Among adults aged 18 or older, the rate of past month alcohol use increased with increasing levels of education. Among adults in 2012 with less than a high school education, 36.6 percent were current drinkers. In comparison, 68.6 percent of college graduates were current drinkers.
  • Among adults aged 18 or older, rates of binge and heavy alcohol use varied by level of education. Among adults in 2012, those who had graduated from college were less likely than those with some college education to be binge drinkers (22.1 vs. 26.4 percent) or heavy drinkers (5.9 vs. 7.9 percent).


College Students

  • Young adults aged 18 to 22 who were enrolled full time in college were more likely than their peers who were not enrolled full time (i.e ., part-time college students and persons not currently enrolled in college) to report current, binge, or heavy drinking. Among full-time college students in 2012, 60.3 percent were current drinkers, 40.1 percent were binge drinkers, and 14.4 percent were heavy drinkers. Among those not enrolled full time in college, these rates were 51.9, 35.0, and 10.7 percent, respectively.
  • The pattern of higher rates of current alcohol use, binge alcohol use, and heavy alcohol use among full-time college students compared with rates for others aged 18 to 22 has remained consistent since 2002 (Figure 3.4).
  • Among young adults aged 18 to 22, the rate of binge drinking declined somewhat since 2002. In 2002, the binge drinking rate within this age group was 41.0 percent compared with 37.1 percent in 2012. Among full-time college students, the rate decreased over this period from 44.4 to 40.1 percent (Figure 3.4). Among part-time college students and others not in college, the rate decreased from 38.9 to 35.0 percent during the same time period.
  • In 2012, male full-time college students aged 18 to 22 were more likely than their female counterparts to be binge drinkers (45.5 vs. 35.3 percent). The rate of binge drinking among male full-time college students in 2012 was lower than in 2002 to 2007. Among female full- time college students, the rate of binge drinking in 2012 was lower than the rates only in 2002 and 2006.



Employment

  • The rate of current alcohol use was 64.8 percent for full-time employed adults aged 18 or older in 2012, which was higher than the rate for unemployed adults (54.9 percent). The rates of binge drinking were similar for adults w ho were employed full time and those who were unemployed (29.9 and 32.0 percent, respectively).
  • Among adults in 2012, most binge and heavy alcohol users were employed. Among the 57.9 million adults who were binge drinkers, 43.6 million (75.4 percent) were employed either full or part time. Among the 16.7 million adults who were heavy drinkers, 12.5 million (74.7 percent) were employed.


Geographic Area

  • The rate of past month alcohol use for people aged 12 or older in 2012 was lowest in the South (48.3 percent), followed by the West (50.7 percent), then the Midwest (55.4 percent), then the Northeast (57.7 percent).
  • In 2012, the rates of past month alcohol use among persons aged 12 or older in large and small metropolitan areas (53.5 and 53.1 percent, respectively) were higher than in nonmetropolitan areas (45.6 percent). Rates of binge drinking were similar in large and small metropolitan areas (23.4 and 22.9 percent, respectively). However, binge drinking among persons aged 12 or older was less prevalent in nonmetropolitan areas (21.4 percent) than in large metropolitan areas.
  • Among youths aged 12 to 17 in 2012, the rates of binge alcohol use in large metropolitan and small metropolitan areas (6.9 and 6.8 percent, respectively) were lower than the rate for youths in nonmetropolitan areas (9.2 percent).


Association with Illicit Drug and Tobacco Use

  • As was the case in prior years, the level of alcohol use was associated with illicit drug use in 2012. Among the 17.0 million heavy drinkers aged 12 or older, 31.0 percent were current illicit drug users. Persons who were not current alcohol users were less likely to have used illicit drugs in the past month (4.2 percent) than those who reported (a) current use of alcohol but no binge or heavy use (7.1 percent), (b) binge use but no heavy use (18.5 percent), or (c) heavy use of alcohol (31.0 percent).
  • Alcohol consumption levels also were associated with tobacco use. Among heavy alcohol users aged 12 or older, 53.4 percent smoked cigarettes in the past month compared with 16.6 percent of non-binge current drinkers and 16.0 percent of persons who did not drink alcohol in the past month. Smokeless tobacco use and cigar use also were more prevalent among heavy drinkers (12.5 and 17.3 percent, respectively) than among non-binge drinkers (2.1 and 4.2 percent) and persons who were not current alcohol users (2.0 and 2.2 percent).


Driving Under the Influence of Alcohole

  • In 2012, an estimated 11.2 percent of persons aged 12 or older drove under the influence of alcohol at least once in the past year (Figure 3.5). This percentage has decreased since 2002, when it was 14.2 percent, but was similar to the rate in 2011 (11.1 percent). The 2012 estimate corresponds to 29.1 million persons.
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol among persons aged 16 or older differed by age group in 2012. The rate was highest among persons aged 21 to 25 (21.9 percent) (Figure 3.6). An estimated 4.7 percent of 16 or 17 year olds and 12.8 percent of 18 to 20 year olds reported driving under the influence of alcohol in the past year. Beyond age 25, these rates showed a general decline with increasing age.
  • Among persons aged 18 to 25, the rate of driving under the influence of alcohol decreased steadily from 2002, when it was 26.6 percent, to 2011, when it was 18.6 percent. There was no change in this rate between 2011 and 2012 (18.6 and 18.4 percent, respectively).
  • Among persons aged 12 or older, males were more likely than females (14.6 vs. 7.9 percent) to drive under the influence of alcohol in the past year.


[Qn.No.15. Driving under the influence of alcohol was reported the highest rate of what age group(in 2012):]





Underage Alcohol Use

  • In 2012, about 9.3 million persons aged 12 to 20 (24.3 percent of this age group) reported drinking alcohol in the past month. Approximately 5.9 million (15.3 percent) were binge drinkers, and 1.7 million (4.3 percent) were heavy drinkers.
  • Rates of current, binge, and heavy alcohol use among underage persons declined between 2002 and 2012. The rate of current alcohol use among 12 to 20 year olds decreased from 28.8 percent in 2002 to 24.3 percent in 2012. The binge drinking rate declined from 19.3 to 15.3 percent, and the rate of heavy drinking declined from 6.2 to 4.3 percent.
  • Rates of current alcohol use increased with age among underage persons. In 2012, 2.2 percent of persons aged 12 or 13, 11.1 percent of persons aged 14 or 15, 24.8 percent of 16 or 17 year olds, and 45.8 percent of 18 to 20 year olds drank alcohol during the 30 days before they were surveyed. This pattern by age has been observed since 2002 (Figure 3.7).
  • Males and females aged 12 to 20 in 2012 had similar rates of current alcohol use (24.7 and 24.0 percent) (Figure 3.8). However, underage males were more likely than underage females to report binge (16.5 vs. 14.0 percent) or heavy alcohol use (5.2 vs. 3.4 percent).






  • Among persons aged 12 to 20, past month alcohol use rates in 2012 were 13.8 percent among Asians, 18.0 percent among blacks, 21.7 percent among those reporting two or more races, 22.3 percent among American Indians or Alaska Natives, 23.2 percent among Hispanics, and 27.4 percent among whites.
  • In 2012, among persons aged 12 to 20, binge drinking was reported by 18.2 percent of whites, 18.1 percent of American Indians or Alaska Natives, 14.2 percent of Hispanics, and 13.8 percent of persons reporting two or more races. Blacks and Asians in this age group were less likely than underage persons in other racial/ethnic groups to report binge drinking (8.5 and 7.8 percent, respectively).
  • Across geographic regions in 2012, the rate of current alcohol use among persons aged 12 to 20 was higher in the Northeast (28.3 percent) than in the Midwest (24.4 percent), West (24.5 percent), and South (22.3 percent).
  • In 2012, the current alcohol use rates among underage persons were 24.7 percent in large metropolitan areas, 24.4 percent in small metropolitan areas, and 22.6 percent in nonmetropolitan areas.
  • In 2012, 81.1 percent of current drinkers aged 12 to 20 were with two or more other people the last time they drank alcohol, 13.5 percent were with one other person the last time they drank, and 5.5 percent were alone.
  • A majority of underage current drinkers in 2012 reported that their last use of alcohol in the past month occurred in a home setting, either in someone else's home (54.4 percent) or their own home (31.4 percent). The rate for drinking at someone else's home in 2012 was lower than the rate in 2011 (57.0 percent), while the rate for drinking at home was higher than it was in 2011 (28.2 percent). In 2012, underage females were more likely than males to have been in a restaurant, bar, or club on their last drinking occasion (8.1 vs. 5.6 percent).
  • Among underage current drinkers in 2012, 28.2 percent paid for the alcohol the last time they drank, including 7.6 percent who purchased the alcohol themselves and 20.4 percent who gave money to someone else to purchase it. In 2012, the percentage of underage drinkers who gave money to someone else to purchase the last alcohol they drank was lower than in 2011 (20.4 vs. 22.4 percent).
  • In 2012, among underage current drinkers who did not pay for the alcohol the last time they drank, the most common source was an unrelated person aged 21 or older (36.6 percent). Parents, guardians, or other adult family members provided the last alcohol to 23.0 percent of nonpaying underage drinkers. Other underage persons provided the alcohol on the last occasion for 18.8 percent of nonpaying underage drinkers. Additional sources of alcohol for underage drinkers who did not pay included (a) took the alcohol from home (6.3 percent), (b) took it from someone else's home (3.2 percent), and (c) got it some other way (6.8 percent).
  • In 2012, underage current drinkers were more likely than current alcohol users aged 21 or older to use illicit drugs within 2 hours of alcohol use on their last reported drinking occasion (20.6 vs. 5.8 percent). The most commonly reported illicit drug used by underage drinkers in combination with alcohol was marijuana, which was used within 2 hours of alcohol use by 19.8 percent of current underage drinkers (1.8 million persons) on their last drinking occasion.


C. Tobacco Use

The National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) includes a series of questions about the use of tobacco products, including cigarettes, chewing tobacco, snuff, cigars, and pipe tobacco. Cigarette use is defined as smoking "part or all of a cigarette." For analytic purposes, data for chewing tobacco and snuff are combined and termed "smokeless tobacco."

  • In 2012, an estimated 69.5 million Americans aged 12 or older were current (past month) users of a tobacco product. This represents 26.7 percent of the population in that age range. Also, 57.5 million persons (22.1 percent of the population) were current cigarette smokers; 13.4 million (5.2 percent) smoked cigars; 9.0 million (3.5 percent) used smokeless tobacco; and 2.5 million (1.0 percent) smoked tobacco in pipes (Figure 4.1).
  • The rate of current use of any tobacco product among persons aged 12 or older in 2012 (26.7 percent) was similar to the rate in 2011 (26.5 percent) and 2010 (27.5 percent), but was lower than the rate in 2009 (27.7 percent) ( Figure 4.1 ). The rate of current use of cigarettes also was similar from 2010 to 2012, but declined from 23.3 percent in 2009 to 22.1 percent in 2012. Current use rates of cigars, smokeless tobacco, and pipe tobacco in 2012 remained similar to the corresponding rates in 2011 and 2010.
  • Between 2002 and 2012, past month use of any tobacco product among persons aged 12 or older decreased from 30.4 to 26.7 percent, and past month cigarette use declined from 26.0 to 22.1 percent (Figure 4.1). However, past month pipe tobacco use increased from 0.8 percent in 2002 to 1.0 percent in 2012. Rates of past month use of cigars and smokeless tobacco were similar in 2002 and 2012.




Age

  • In 2012, young adults aged 18 to 25 had the highest rate of current use of a tobacco product (38.1 percent) compared with youths aged 12 to 17 (8.6 percent) and adults aged 26 or older (27.0 percent). Young adults also had the highest rates of current use of the specific tobacco products. Among young adults, the rates of past month use in 2012 were 31.8 percent for cigarettes, 10.7 percent for cigars, 5.5 percent for smokeless tobacco, and 1.8 percent for pipe tobacco.
  • The rate of current use of a tobacco product by young adults declined from 45.3 percent in 2002 to 39.5 percent in 2011, then to 38.1 percent in 2012. The rate of current cigarette use among young adults also declined from 40.8 percent in 2002 to 33.5 percent in 2011, and it declined further to 31.8 percent in 2012. However, the rate of current use of pipe tobacco by young adults increased from 1.1 percent in 2002 to 1.8 percent in 2012.
  • The rate of past month tobacco use among 12 to 17 year olds declined from 15.2 percent in 2002 to 8.6 percent in 2012, including a decline from 2011 (10.0 percent) to 2012 (Figure 4.2). The rate of past month cigarette use among 12 to 17 year olds declined from 13.0 percent in 2002 to 7.8 percent in 2011 and to 6.6 percent in 2012. The rate of past month smokeless tobacco use among 12 to 17 year olds remained steady between 2002 and 2012 (2.0 and 2.1 percent, respectively).
  • Across age groups, current cigarette use in 2012 was highest among persons aged 21 to 25 (34.1 percent), those aged 26 to 29 (33.4 percent), and those aged 30 to 34 (31.9 percent) (Figure 4.3). Among those aged 35 or older in 2012, 20.1 percent smoked cigarettes in the past month.





Gender

  • In 2012, current use of a tobacco product among persons aged 12 or older was reported by a higher percentage of males (33.0 percent) than females (20.9 percent). Males also had higher rates of past month use than females of each specific tobacco product: cigarettes (24.6 percent among males vs. 19.8 percent among females), cigars (8.5 vs. 2.0 percent), smokeless tobacco (6.7 vs. 0.4 percent), and pipe tobacco (1.6 vs. 0.4 percent).
  • The rate of any tobacco use among males aged 12 or older declined from 37.0 percent in 2002 to 33.0 percent in 2012. The rate of any tobacco use for females aged 12 or older also declined from 24.3 percent in 2002 to 20.9 percent in 2012. Rates of any tobacco use were similar between 2011 and 2012 for both males and females.
  • Among youths aged 12 to 17, the rates of current cigarette smoking in 2012 were similar for males (6.8 percent) and females (6.3 percent) (Figure 4.4). These rates in 2012 were lower than the corresponding rates in 2011 (8.2 percent for males and 7.3 percent for females). From 2002 to 2012, the rate of current cigarette smoking among youths decreased for both males (from 12.3 to 6.8 percent) and females (from 13.6 to 6.3 percent).
  • The rate of current cigarette smoking among male young adults aged 18 to 25 declined from 40.4 percent in 2009 to 36.6 percent in 2012. Among female young adults, the rate declined from 31.3 percent in 2009 to 27.1 percent in 2012. Between 2002 and 2012, current cigarette use among young adults declined for both males (from 44.4 to 36.6 percent) and females (from 37.1 to 27.1 percent).



Pregnant Women

  • About one in six pregnant women aged 15 to 44 (15.9 percent) had smoked cigarettes in the past month, based on combined 2011 and 2012 data (Figure 4.5). This rate of past month cigarette use among women who were pregnant was lower than that among women who were not pregnant (24.6 percent). This pattern was also evident among women aged 18 to 25 (20.9 vs. 28.2 percent for pregnant and nonpregnant women, respectively) and among women aged 26 to 44 (12.5 vs. 25.2 percent, respectively).
  • The annual average rates of current cigarette use among women aged 15 to 44 who were not pregnant decreased from 30.7 percent in 2002-2003 to 24.6 percent in 2011-2012 (Figure 4.5). However, the prevalence of cigarette use among pregnant women in this age range did not change significantly during the same time period (18.0 percent in 2002-2003 and 15.9 percent in 2011-2012).



Race/Ethnicity

  • In 2012, the prevalence of current use of a tobacco product among persons aged 12 or older was 10.8 percent for Asians, 19.2 percent for Hispanics, 27.2 percent for blacks, 29.2 percent for whites, 37.3 percent for persons who reported two or more races, and 48.4 percent for American Indians or Alaska Natives. There were no statistically significant changes in past month use of a tobacco product between 2011 and 2012 for any of these racial/ethnic groups.
  • In 2012, current cigarette smoking among youths aged 12 to 17 and young adults aged 18 to 25 was more prevalent among whites than blacks (8.2 vs. 4.1 percent for youths and 36.6 vs. 26.2 percent for young adults).
  • Among Hispanics, the rate of current cigarette smoking among young adults aged 18 to 25 decreased from 28.4 percent in 2011 to 25.0 percent in 2012. The rates of current cigarette smoking in 2012 were 4.8 percent among youths aged 12 to 17 and 17.0 percent among those aged 26 or older, which were similar to the corresponding rates in 2011.
  • Among Asians, the rate of current cigarette smoking among young adults aged 18 to 25 decreased from 22.7 percent in 2011 to 16.3 percent in 2012. The rates of current cigarette smoking in 2012 were 1.7 percent among youths aged 12 to 17 and 9.1 percent among those aged 26 or older, which were similar to the corresponding rates in 2011.


Education

  • Since 2002, cigarette smoking in the past month has been less prevalent among adults who were college graduates compared with those with less education. Among adults aged 18 or older, current cigarette use in 2012 was reported by 33.7 percent of those who had not completed high school, 29.4 percent of high school graduates who did not attend college, 25.5 percent of persons with some college, and 11.5 percent of college graduates. These rates were similar to the 2011 rates by educational attainment.


College Students

  • Among young adults 18 to 22 years old, full-time college students were less likely to be current cigarette smokers than their peers who were not enrolled full time in college. The same pattern was found among both males and females in this age range.
  • The rates of past month cigarette use among full-time college students declined from 32.6 percent in 2002 to 21.3 percent in 2012 and declined from 45.8 percent in 2002 to 37.2 percent in 2012 among those not enrolled full time.
  • Among males aged 18 to 22 who were full-time college students, the rate of past month cigarette use in 2012 (24.5 percent) was lower than the rate in 2002 (33.3 percent). Among males aged 18 to 22 who were not enrolled full time in college, the rate of cigarette use in 2012 (41.8 percent) also was lower than the rate in 2002 (49.5 percent).
  • Among females aged 18 to 22 who were full-time college students, the rate of past month cigarette use declined from 32.0 percent in 2002 to 18.4 percent in 2012. Among females aged 18 to 22 who were not enrolled full time in college, the rate of cigarette use in 2012 (32.0 percent) also was lower than the rate in 2002 (41.7 percent).


Employment

  • In 2012, current cigarette smoking was more common among unemployed adults aged 18 or older (40.1 percent) than among adults who were working full time or part time (23.9 and 22.7 percent, respectively). Cigar smoking followed a similar pattern, with 9.1 percent of unemployed adults reporting past month use compared with 5.8 percent of full-time workers and 6.0 percent of part-time workers.
  • Current use of smokeless tobacco in 2012 was higher among adults aged 18 or older who were employed full time (4.8 percent) than among those who were unemployed (3.6 percent), those who were employed part time (2.8 percent), and those in the "other" employment category, which includes persons not in the labor force (2.0 percent). These rates were similar to the 2011 smokeless tobacco use rates among adults for most of these employment categories, except that the rate among adults with full-time employment increased from 4.3 percent in 2011 to 4.8 percent in 2012.


Geographic Area

  • In 2012, current cigarette smoking among persons aged 12 or older was lower in the West (19.1 percent) and the Northeast (20.9 percent) than in the South (23.1 percent) and the Midwest (24.7 percent). Use of smokeless tobacco was lowest in the Northeast (2.0 percent), followed by the West (2.7 percent), then the South and Midwest (4.1 and 4.5 percent, respectively).
  • Consistent with the findings in previous years since 2002, the rates of use of any tobacco product in 2012 were associated with county type among persons aged 12 or older. The rate of current cigarette use was 19.9 percent in large metropolitan areas, 23.2 percent in small metropolitan areas, and 27.4 percent in nonmetropolitan areas. Use of smokeless tobacco in the past month in 2012 among persons aged 12 or older was lowest in large metropolitan areas (2.1 percent). In small metropolitan areas, the current smokeless tobacco use rate was 3.9 percent; in nonmetropolitan areas, it was 7.1 percent.


Association with Illicit Drug and Alcohol Use

  • Use of illicit drugs and alcohol was more common among current cigarette smokers than among nonsmokers in 2012, as in previous years since 2002. Among persons aged 12 or older, 23.0 percent of past month cigarette smokers reported current use of an illicit drug compared with 5.2 percent of persons who were not current cigarette smokers. Among youths aged 12 to 17 who smoked cigarettes in the past month, 54.6 percent also used an illicit drug compared with 6.4 percent of youths who did not smoke cigarettes.
  • Past month alcohol use was reported by 65.4 percent of current cigarette smokers compared with 48.3 percent of those who did not use cigarettes in the past month. This association also was found for binge alcohol use (43.6 percent of current cigarette smokers vs. 17.1 percent of current nonsmokers) and heavy alcohol use (15.8 vs. 3.9 percent, respectively).


Frequency of Cigarette Use

  • Among the 57.5 million current cigarette smokers aged 12 or older in 2012, 34.9 million (60.7 percent) used cigarettes daily. The percen tage of daily cigarette smokers among past month cigarette users increased with age (22.0 percent of past month cigarette users aged 12 to 17, 45.1 percent of those aged 18 to 25, and 66.0 percent of those aged 26 or older).
  • The percentage of current smokers aged 12 or older who used cigarettes daily decreased from 63.4 percent in 2002 to 60.7 percent in 2012. During the same time period, daily cigarette use declined among current smokers aged 12 to 17 (from 31.8 to 22.0 percent), those aged 18 to 25 (from 51.8 to 45.1 percent), and those aged 26 or older (from 68.8 to 66.0 percent).
  • About two out of five daily smokers aged 12 or older (41.9 percent) reported smoking 16 or more cigarettes per day (i.e., approximately one pack or more). The percentage of daily smokers who smoked at least one pack of cigarettes per day increased with age, from 10.6 percent among daily smokers aged 12 to 17, to 25.1 percent of those aged 18 to 25, then to 45.1 percent of those aged 26 or older ( Figure 4.6).
  • The percentage of daily smokers aged 26 or older who smoked one or more packs of cigarettes per day was lower in 2012 (45.1 percent) than in 2002 (56.9 percent). Declines also were seen among daily smokers from 2002 to 2012 for youths aged 12 to 17 (from 21.7 to 10.6 percent) and for young adults aged 18 to 25 (from 39.0 to 25.1 percent).



 
Substance Abuse > Chapter 3, Part A - Substance Abuse Trends
Page Last Modified On: April 18, 2015, 11:46 AM