Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Smoking Cessation Health Center

Font Size

Smoking: Most Want to Quit; Many Feel Hooked

More than 8 in 10 U.S. Adults Call Smoking 'Very Harmful'
WebMD Health News

Aug. 15, 2005 -- Most U.S. adults call smoking "very harmful" and more than three out of four smokers want to kick the smoking habit, according to a new Gallup poll.

The poll was done by telephone in July -- before the death of ABC news anchor Peter Jennings. About a thousand U.S. adults participated.

The findings:

  • A quarter of those polled had smoked in the previous week.
  • 22% were ex-smokers and 52% had never smoked.
  • 81% called smoking "very harmful."
  • More than half (53%) called secondhand smoke "very harmful."

Smoker's Results

Here are data on the 216 participants who are smokers:

  • 76% stated that they wanted to quit smoking.
  • 74% stated that they considered themselves addicted to cigarettes.
  • More than half (58%) noted smoking less than a pack of cigarettes weekly.
  • Heavy smokers were more likely to state that they were addicted to cigarettes.
  • Heavy smokers weren't more likely to express a desire to quit smoking.

Smoking Affected Some Views

According to Gallup, 86% of nonsmokers called smoking "very harmful." Fewer smokers (65%) agreed.

Differing views also showed up in a 2001 Gallup poll. In that poll, 77% of nonsmokers agreed that smoking is a major cause of lung cancer, compared to 57% of smokers.

"As a group, smokers clearly recognize the risks inherent in their habit, but are perhaps less willing to admit it," states the latest Gallup report.

Big Changes Over Time

Fewer Americans smoke now than in the 1940s and 1950s.

In a 1944 Gallup poll, more than four in 10 participants (41%) said that they had smoked any cigarettes in the past week. That figure hit an all-time high in 1954, when 45% reported cigarette smoking in the previous week.

Today's smokers are also more likely to report smoking less than a pack of cigarettes per day, compared to those in the late 1970s and early 1980s, notes Gallup's report.

Today on WebMD

hands breaking a cigarette
Is quitting cold turkey an effective method?
14 tips to get you through the first hard days.
smoking man
Surprising impacts of tobacco on the body.
cigarette smoke
What happens when you kick the habit?

Filtered cigarettes
an array of e cigarettes
human heart
Woman experiencing withdrawal symptoms

man smoking cigarette
no smoking sign
Woman ashing cigarette in ashtray
chain watch