New Survey on Smoking Finds Education, Age and Gender Shaping Americans' Attitudes and Habits

More Millennials smoke than older generations - but they don't want anyone knowing about it.

Jan 06, 2015, 09:00 ET from Swedish Match North America

RICHMOND, Va., Jan. 6, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- As many Americans contemplate a New Year's resolution to stop smoking, a just-released survey on Americans' tobacco habits and attitudes finds that most college graduates have never tried a cigarette, that younger smokers are twice as likely to hide their habit from their coworkers and that more than one in three women smokers are lighting up more than three hours a day.

The findings are part of a national poll of more than 1,000 American adults conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs on behalf of Swedish Match, a Sweden-based tobacco company that is advocating a world without cigarettes.

The survey found that 21 percent of Americans say they are current smokers, with 23 percent declaring that they have quit the habit and 42 percent replying that they have never had a cigarette, a figure that jumps to 54 percent among college graduates. Only 12 percent of those who completed college say they smoke. The highest rates of smoking are among 18-34-year-olds (23%), just ahead of 35-54-year-olds (22%) and much higher than those 55 and older (17%).

Among those who quit smoking, more than half (56%) said they did so due to fear of health complications, with one-third (32%) giving up cigarettes due to their cost. 

Smokers are largely transparent about their tobacco use. Only 15 percent of those who do or did smoke say they hid/hide the habit from their coworkers. Among younger (age 18-34) smokers, however, the percentage of those who conceal their cigarette use at work more than doubles – to 36 percent.

"This survey underscores the significant generational and educational differences in Americans' attitudes toward smoking," said Chris Lemmon, senior brand manager at Swedish Match.  "Curiously, the smoking rates among Millennials – the generation that has grown up with anti-smoking messages – are actually higher than older age groups, and yet one in three of them hide their cigarette use at work, which likely speaks to the stigma still associated with smoking."

The amount of time Americans spend smoking varies widely, but 62 percent of smokers say they spend at least an hour a day puffing, with one in four (24%) admitting they spend at least three hours a day on the habit. More than one-third (37%) of women and retirees (42%) spend at least three hours every day lighting up. 

Attitudes toward e-cigarettes appear to be evolving. While 58 percent of smokers surveyed said that there was not a stigma associated with e-cigarettes, more than one in three smokers (37%) say they don't use e-cigs because the health impacts of them are still unknown, with another 18 percent believing them just to be a "fad." More than one-quarter (28%) of the smokers surveyed say they use e-cigarettes.

The national survey was commissioned by Swedish Match, maker of General snus, a discreet, spitless pouch tobacco product popular in Sweden where smoking participation rates are 38 percent less than the U.S.  Lung cancer rates also are significantly lower than in the U.S.

Survey Methodology

These are some of the findings of an Ipsos poll conducted on behalf of Swedish Match from September 27 to October 1, 2014. For the survey, a representative randomly selected sample of 1,003 adults was interviewed by online via the Ipsos online I-Say panel.  With a sample of this size, the results are considered accurate to within ± 3.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, of what they would have been had the entire adult population of U.S. been polled. The credibility interval will be larger within sub-groupings of the survey population.  These data were weighted to ensure that the sample's age/sex composition reflects that of the actual U.S population according to Census information.

About General Snus

General Snus, the world-wide leader, is a smokeless tobacco which has been enjoyed for more than 150 years.  General Snus is fresh, discrete and the ultimate in pure tobacco satisfaction.  Go to to learn more or like us on Facebook.

About Swedish Match

Swedish Match develops, manufactures, and sells quality products with market-leading brands in the product areas Snus and snuff, Other tobacco products (cigars and chewing tobacco), and Lights (matches and lighters).Well-known brands include General snus, Longhorn moist snuff, White Owl cigars, Red Man chewing tobacco, Fiat Lux matches, and Cricket lighters. The Group sells products across the globe, with production units in six countries.

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SOURCE Swedish Match North America