11/26/2014 04:17 EST | Updated 01/26/2015 05:59 EST

Adult smoking rate dipped just below 18 per cent last year, government report says

NEW YORK, N.Y. - A government report says the smoking rate for U.S. adults dipped below 18 per cent 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 per cent, until it started dropping a bit a few years ago. In last year's survey, 17.8 per cent 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.



CDC report: