Stop Smoking

US adult smoking rate dips just under 18 percent

June 26, 2012: A student waits for a bus behind a no smoking sign at the State University of New York at Albany in Albany, N.Y. As tobacco bans are sweeping campuses nationwide, one California city has passed an ordinance requiring all apartments and condo units to be designated either smoking or non-smoking. (AP)

June 26, 2012: A student waits for a bus behind a no smoking sign at the State University of New York at Albany in Albany, N.Y. As tobacco bans are sweeping campuses nationwide, one California city has passed an ordinance requiring all apartments and condo units to be designated either smoking or non-smoking. (AP)

A government report says the smoking rate for U.S. adults dipped below 18 percent for the first time last year.

That's still about the same rate found in 2012, and translates to about 42 million smokers.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released the findings Wednesday. Smoking was more common in certain groups, like the poor, less educated, and gays and bisexuals.

The nation's smoking rate had stalled at around 20 to 21 percent, until it started dropping a bit a few years ago. In last year's survey, 17.8 percent of adults described themselves as smokers.

Smoking is the nation's leading cause of preventable illness. It's responsible for the majority of lung cancer deaths and is a factor in heart attacks and a variety of other illnesses.