Education Level

Smoking Prevalence: 2013 smoking prevalence was higher for those with a GED (41.4%) or high school diploma (22.0%) compared with those with an undergraduate degree (9.1%) or graduate degree (5.6%).1

  • Smoking among non-college bound high school seniors is more than twice that of college-bound high school seniors (25.3% vs. 10.8%, respectively).8
  • A study of cigarette smoking prevalence in U.S. counties found that, while the U.S. as a whole has made significant progress in reducing smoking from 1996-2012, rates vary dramatically between counties with different income levels, even within the same state. Counties with higher average incomes experienced more rapid declines than counties with lower average incomes.9


  • According to data from 2012, quit attempts increase as education level rises,4 with only 39% of adult smokers with less than 12 years of education making a quit attempt versus 49.0% of those with a college degree.
  • According to data from 2010, successful quitting also increases as education level rises.4 11.4% of adult smokers with an undergraduate degree have quit successfully compared with only 3.2% of those with less than 12 years of education.3

Health Effects: A 14-year follow-up study found that lower education was associated with greater ischemic stroke incidence, a condition exacerbated by smoking.10