Health >> Tobacco

Tobacco: Summary and Data Highlights

Although smoking among King County adults fell for 20 years, this trend has stalled since 2006.

Cigarette smoking is the leading preventable cause of death in the U.S., accounting for almost 1 in 5 deaths each year. Deaths from tobacco use exceed the total of deaths from HIV, alcohol use, illegal drug use, motor vehicle injury, suicide, and murder.

  • In the year 2015, 12% of King County adults were current smokers. The rate of adult smoking declined for almost 20 years.

Regional, State, & National Comparisons

  • King County region mattered for adults
    • Adult smoking rates were highest in South Region (16%), lowest in East Region (8%);, North Region and Seattle did not differ much from the county overall.
  • The King County adult smoking rate of 13% (average of 2011-2015) was lower than 2014 rate in Washington State (15%).


  • Among both adults, males were more likely to smoke than females.
  • Males between the ages 25 and 44 were the most likely to smoke (18%). 

Disparities in Tobacco Use

      • Smoking rates increased as income went down. Compared to adults in households with annual income of $75,000 or more (7%), smoking rates were:
        • 4 times greater among adults in households earning less than $15,000 a year (29%)
        • 3 times greater among adults in households earning between $15,000 and $35,000 a year (20 to 21%).
        • 2 times greater among adults in households earning between $35,000 and $75,000 a year (14 to 15%)


          • Among King County adults, smoking varied by race/ethnicity.
            • Only 8% of Asian adults in King County were current smokers.
            • American Indian/Alaska Native adults had the highest smoking rate of all races (32%)
            • 22% of Black adults and 19% Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander, and multiple-race adults were smokers.

Previously Reported (2011)

      • Smoking was also most common among adults with the least education.  Compared to college graduates (5%), smoking rates were 5 times greater among adults without a high school degree (25%).

"I tasted my first cigarette at age 3 and was smoking regularly by high school. In the Navy I got up to 4 packs a day. I must have quit hundreds of times. But finally it took.  I haven’t had a cigarette in 25 years."
North Seattle male who quit smoking in 1986.