Fact sheet on tobacco use

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[November 13, 2012]  Facts below are provided by the American Cancer Society:

  • Tobacco use remains the single largest preventable cause of disease and premature death in the United States.i

  • For every person who dies from a smoking-related disease, 20 more people suffer with at least one serious illness from smoking.ii

  • In the U.S., tobacco use is responsible for nearly 1 in 5 deaths, or about 443,000 premature deaths each year.i

  • On average, smokers die 13 to 14 years earlier than nonsmokers.iii

  • The risk of developing lung cancer is about 23 times higher in male smokers and 13 times higher in female smokers, compared with lifelong nonsmokers.i

  • Tobacco use increases the risk of myeloid leukemia and cancers of the lung, mouth, nasal cavities, larynx, throat, esophagus, stomach, colorectum, liver, pancreas, kidney, bladder, uterine cervix and ovaries.i

  • Tobacco use accounts for at least 30 percent of all cancer deaths and 80 percent of lung cancer deaths.i

  • Thousands of young people begin smoking every day.iv

    • Each day, more than 3,800 people younger than 18 smoke their first cigarette.

    • Each day, about 1,000 people younger than 18 begin smoking on a daily basis.

  • Cigars contain many of the same carcinogens found in cigarettes. Cigar smoking increases the risk of cancers of the lung, mouth, throat, larynx, esophagus and probably the pancreas.i

  • Sales of little cigars increased by 240 percent from 1993 to 2007.i

  • Smokeless tobacco products are a major source of cancer-causing nitrosamines (chemical compounds) and a known cause of human cancer. They increase the risk of developing cancer of the mouth and throat, esophagus, and pancreas.i

  • Sales of smokeless tobacco products are growing at a more rapid pace than cigarettes. While sales of cigarettes declined by 42 percent between 1990 and 2006, per capita sales of smokeless products in the U.S. nearly doubled.i

Global tobacco use

  • In 2011, tobacco use killed almost 6 million people, with 80 percent of these deaths occurring in low- and middle-income countries,i and current trends show that tobacco use will cause more than 8 million deaths annually by 2030.v

  • 43 trillion cigarettes have been smoked in the last decade.vi

  • Smoking rates are increasing among women, particularly young women, in many countries. Women and children account for 75 percent of the deaths caused by secondhand smoke.vi

Costs and expenditures

  • Cigarette smoking costs the United States more than $193 billion (i.e., $97 billion in lost productivity, plus $96 billion in health care expenditures).vii

  • Secondhand smoke costs United States more than $10 billion (i.e., health care expenditures, morbidity and mortality).viii

  • The tobacco industry receives annual profits of almost $6,000 per death caused by tobacco.vi

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Smoking cessation

  • People who quit, at any age, live longer than people who continue to smoke.i

  • Smokers who quit before age 50 cut their risk of dying in the next 15 years in half, compared with those who continue to smoke.i

  • Large disparities in smoking prevalence and cessation continue to exist. Smokers with an undergraduate or graduate degree are more likely to quit than those with less formal education.i

  • Many adult smokers want to quit smoking.ix

    • Approximately 69 percent of smokers want to quit completely.

    • Approximately 52 percent of smokers attempted to quit in 2010.

Secondhand smoke

  • Secondhand smoke contains more than 7,000 chemicals, at least 69 of which cause cancer.i

  • Each year, about 3,400 nonsmoking adults die of lung cancer as a result of breathing secondhand smoke.i

  • Secondhand smoke may cause coughing, wheezing, chest tightness and reduced lung function in adult nonsmokers.i


i American Cancer Society. Cancer Facts & Figures 2012. Atlanta: American Cancer Society; 2012.

ii Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Cigarette Smoking-Attributable Morbidity—United States, 2000. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 2003;52(35):842–4 [accessed 2012 Jun 7]).

iii Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Annual Smoking-Attributable Mortality, Years of Potential Life Lost, and Productivity Losses—United States, 1995–1999. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 2002;51(14):300–3 [accessed 2012 Jun 7].

iv Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration. Results from the 2010 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: National Findings  Rockville (MD): Office of Applied Studies [accessed 2012 Jun 7].

v World Health Organization. WHO Report on the Global Tobacco Epidemic, 2009. Geneva: World Health Organization, 2008 [accessed 2012 Jun 7].

vi Eriksen M, Mackay J, Ross H. The Tobacco Atlas. Fourth Ed. Atlanta, GA: American Cancer Society; New York, NY: World Lung Foundation; 2012. Also available at www.TobaccoAtlas.org.

vii Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Smoking-Attributable Mortality, Years of Potential Life Lost, and Productivity Losses—United States, 2000–2004. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 2008;57(45):1226–8 [accessed 2012 Jun 7].

viiii Behan DF, Eriksen MP, Lin Y. Economic Effects of Environmental Tobacco Smoke Report Exit NotificationSchaumburg, IL: Society of Actuaries; 2005 [accessed 2012 Jun 7].

ix Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Quitting Smoking Among Adults—United States, 2001–2010. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report [serial online] 2011;60(44):1513–19 [accessed 2012 Jun 7].

[Text from file received from the American Cancer Society, Illinois Division]

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