Skip To Content

Table Of Contents To return to the Table of Contents (TOC)

Click for DHHS Home Page
Click for the SAMHSA Home Page
Click for the OAS Drug Abuse Statistics Home Page
Click for What's New
Click for Recent Reports and Highlights Click for Information by Topic Click for OAS Data Systems and more Pubs Click for Data on Specific Drugs of Use Click for Short Reports and Facts Click for Frequently Asked Questions Click for Publications Click to send OAS Comments, Questions and Requests Click for OAS Home Page Click for Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Home Page Click to Search Our Site

Tobacco Use in America:  Highlights

This report includes detailed information about tobacco use in the United States from the 1999 National Household Survey on Drug Abuse (NHSDA), an annual cross sectional study sponsored by the Office of Applied Studies (OAS) within the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and conducted by the Research Triangle Institute (RTI). Since 1971, the NHSDA has been a primary source of information on the prevalence and incidence of illicit drug, alcohol, and tobacco use in the civilian population aged 12 years old or older.

Over the years, improvements have been made to the NHSDA to obtain better and more complete substance use information from the public. In 1999, major improvements were made. The sample size was expanded almost fourfold from previous years, so the data contained in this report were based on information obtained from nearly 70,000 persons. The sample design was also changed. Previous samples were designed to produce only national estimates. The new sample design supports the development of both national and State estimates of substance use. Moreover, a new, interactive, bilingual, computer-based questionnaire was introduced. Earlier surveys relied on paper-and-pencil questionnaires for respondents to complete. All of these changes were designed to improve the accuracy of the survey. At the same time, the changes limit the types of trend comparisons that can be made with information obtained from surveys prior to 1999. Included below are highlights from each chapter in this report.


Prevalence of the Use of Tobacco Products  (See Chapter 2 for full report)

Table Of Contents To return to the Table of Contents (TOC)


State Data  (See Chapter 3 for full report)

Estimates of substance use for all 50 States and the District of Columbia were developed using a small area estimation model that combines sample data from each State with a national regression model that includes local indicators related to substance use. States were grouped into quintiles for comparison purposes.

Table Of Contents To return to the Table of Contents (TOC)


Initiation of Tobacco Products and Patterns of Use  (See Chapter 4 for full report)

Trends in the new use of substances were estimated using the data reported on age at first use from the computer-administered 1999 NHSDA. Because information on when people first used a substance is collected on a retrospective basis in the NHSDA, information on first-time use or incidence is always 1 or more years behind information on current use.

Table Of Contents To return to the Table of Contents (TOC)


Prevention-Related Measures (See Chapter 5 for full report)

The 1999 NHSDA included a youth risk and protective factor module enhanced from the module originally added to the 1997 survey. Risk factors involve individual characteristics or social environments associated with an increased likelihood of substance use, while protective factors are attitudes and behaviors related to a decreased likelihood of substance use. The main domains included in the 1999 youth module were community, family, peer/individual, school, and general. It is well known that perceptions of risk of harmfulness are among the most important predictors of actual substance use. The NHSDA for many years has included questions about attitudes related to cigarette and other substance use.


Tobacco Use among College Students, School Dropouts, and Pregnant Women  (See Chapter 6 for full report)

Tobacco use is common nationwide, and its use is not limited to cigarettes. Three particular subpopulations discussed separately in this report are college students, high school dropouts, and pregnant women. Common reasons that college students have given for smoking are stress, less supervision, having more free time, and the number of their friends who were smoking. Unfortunately, many members of the general population, including college students who may or may not smoke, do not realize how addictive nicotine is.

Table Of Contents To return to the Table of Contents (TOC)


Tobacco Product Brand Preferences  (See Chapter 7 for full report)

Identifying tobacco brand choices among tobacco users is important for the development of prevention and intervention strategies. Information about brand choices among young smokers is especially important because identifying the factors that influence those choices can help suggest ways to discourage young people from initiating smoking. The 1999 NHSDA asked all persons reporting current tobacco use which brands, by tobacco type, they preferred in the month prior to the survey.

Table Of Contents To return to the Table of Contents (TOC)

This page was last updated on May 16, 2008.