(HealthDay News) — Between 2011 and 2022, there were significant decreases in smoking prevalence among younger adults, but not older adults, according to a study published online Dec. 1 in JAMA Health Forum.

Rafael Meza, PhD, from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, and colleagues used data from 353,555 participants in the National Health Interview Survey (2011 through 2022) to assess trends in smoking.

The researchers found that overall, smoking prevalence decreased among adults aged 18 to 24 years, from 19.2 percent in 2011 to 4.9% in 2022, yielding an average annual percentage change (AAPC) of −11.3%. Smoking prevalence remained roughly constant among adults aged 65 years and older: 8.7% in 2011 and 9.4% in 2022 (AAPC, −0.1 percent). Among adults aged 65 years or older with income <200% of the federal poverty level, smoking prevalence increased from 13.0% in 2011 to 15.8% in 2022 (AAPC, 1.1%), but it remained roughly constant for those with higher incomes.

“These findings suggest that the greatest gains in terms of reducing smoking-attributable morbidity and mortality could be achieved by focusing on individuals with low socioeconomic status, as this population has the highest smoking rates and the worst health prospects,” the authors write.

Abstract/Full Text