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Survey Finds Higher Smoking Rate Among Millennials

RICHMOND, Va. — A new survey found that not only do Millennials have the highest smoking rate, but they are also more likely to hide the fact they smoke.

According to the survey conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs on behalf of Swedish Match, the highest rates of smoking are among 18- to 34-year-olds (23 percent), just ahead of 35- to 54-year-olds (22 percent) and also higher than those age 55 and older (17 percent).

In addition, 21 percent of the Americans surveyed say they are current smokers, with 23 percent saying they have quit and 42 percent saying they have never had a cigarette, a figure that jumps to 54 percent among college graduates. Among those who quit smoking, 56 percent said they did so due to fear of health complications, with 32 percent giving up cigarettes due to cost. 

The findings are part of a national poll of more than 1,000 American adults that was conducted from Sept. 27 to Oct. 1.

Of those who do smoke, only 15 percent say they hid/hide the habit from their co-workers. However, 36 percent of smokers aged 18 to 34 said they conceal their cigarette use at work.

"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 survey also found the amount of time Americans spend smoking varies widely, but 62 percent of smokers say they spend at least an hour a day smoking. One in four indicated they spend at least three hours a day smoking. Broken down further, more than one-third of women and retirees spend at least three hours a day smoking.

The survey also looked at electronic cigarettes, finding that while 58 percent of smokers surveyed said there was not a stigma associated with e-cigarettes, 37 percent don't use e-cigarettes because the health impacts of them are still unknown. Another 18 percent believe them just to be a "fad." More than one-quarter of the smokers surveyed say they use e-cigarettes.

Swedish Match is the maker of General Snus, a smokeless tobacco. It also develops, manufactures and sells snus, snuff, cigars and chewing tobacco. The Swedish Match US Division is based in Richmond.

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