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Cell phone users tend to drink, smoke more than landline users

A US Health Department study finds that mobile phone-only users are younger and more likely to party.

Getty Images/WIN-Initiative RM

As the popularity and usage of mobile phones increase steadily, landlines are slowly going to the days of yesterday. A study released Friday from the US Health Department confirmed that 50.8 percent of adults live in households with only wireless phones, with 39.4 percent owning both a landline and wireless connection, and a mere 6.5 percent of homes using only a landline.

While this overall takeaway may be to no surprise, the demographics within wireless-only and landlines households are pretty interesting, as well as some self-reported health habits.

For instance, over 70 percent of adults aged 25 through 34 live in a wireless-only household. And the majority of wireless-only households (83.7 percent) are unrelated adults living together with no children.

Because the study was conducted by the USHD, health-related behaviors and status were also surveyed. A larger percentage of wireless-only users reported that they had at least one heavy drinking day in the past year (compared to 18.8 percent of landline users), and 18.4 percent of cell phone users currently smoke compared to 12.1 percent of landline users. Despite these health behaviors, however, 41.5 percent of cell phone users met the 2008 federal physical activity guidelines (in contrast, 36.9 percent of landliners met the guidelines).

The study did note the possibility of coverage bias, stating that most major survey research organizations include more wireless telephone numbers than landline, which could skew results.

The US Health Department didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.