Journal of the American Statistical Association
Data from four major surveys, spanning the years since the Surgeon General’s Report, suggest a significant reduction in rates of cigarette smoking. These data, however, conflict with production and sales data which record only a slight reduction. Explanations for this discrepancy range from problems in the surveys’ methodology to increased underreporting of cigarette consumption because of both a growing awareness of the threat to health and the social undesirability of smoking. This article emphasizes the need for caution in the design of surveys and interpretation of their results, regardless of the explanation of the discrepancy.