Tobacco Facts and Figures
Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable illness and death in the United States. It causes many different cancers as well as chronic lung diseases such as emphysema and bronchitis, heart disease, pregnancy-related problems, and many other serious health problems.
- Each day, more than 3,600 people under 18 smoke their first cigarette, and more than 900 begin smoking on a daily basis.
- In 2011, an estimated 19 percent of U.S. adults were cigarette smokers.
- Nearly 20% of high school students smoke cigarettes.
- In 2011, nearly 18% of high school boys were current cigar users.
- From 2005 to 2011, the proportion of adult smokers declined from 20.9% to 19.0%.
- Use this interactive map to get smoking data about your state.
View an accessible version of this infographic.
Why is smoking harmful to smokers?
- Cigarette smoking causes an estimated 443,000 deaths each year, including approximately 49,400 deaths due to exposure to secondhand smoke.
- 8.6 million people live with a serious illness caused by smoking.
- On average, smokers die 13 to 14 years earlier than nonsmokers.
- Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death among both men and women in the United States, and 90% of lung cancer deaths among men and approximately 80% of lung cancer deaths among women are due to smoking.
- Smoking causes many other types of cancer, including cancers of the throat, mouth, nasal cavity, esophagus, stomach, pancreas, kidney, bladder, and cervix, as well as acute myeloid leukemia.
- People who smoke are up to two to four times more likely to suffer a heart attack than nonsmokers, and the risk increases with the number of cigarettes smoked. Smoking also causes most cases of chronic obstructive lung disease.
- Among youth who persist in smoking, a third will die prematurely from smoking.
Why is smoking harmful to others?
- An estimated 88 million nonsmoking Americans, including 54% of children aged 3–11 years, are exposed to secondhand smoke.
- Nonsmokers who are exposed to secondhand smoke at home or work increase their lung cancer risk by 20–30%.
- Nonsmokers who are exposed to secondhand smoke at home or work increase their heart disease risk by 25–30%.
- Each year, primarily because of exposure to secondhand smoke, an estimated 3,000 nonsmoking Americans die of lung cancer, and more than 46,000 die of heart disease.
- Children are at particular risk for exposure to secondhand smoke: 53.6% of young children (aged 3–11 years) were exposed to secondhand smoke in 2007–2008.
- While only 5.4% of adult nonsmokers in the United States lived with someone who smoked inside their home, 18.2% of children (aged 3–11 years) lived with someone who smoked inside their home in 2007–2008.
- Babies and children who breathe secondhand smoke are sick more often with bronchitis, pneumonia, and ear infections.
- In children, secondhand smoke causes:
- Ear infections
- More frequent and severe asthma attacks
- Respiratory issues, including coughing, sneezing, and shortness of breath
- Respiratory infections, including bronchitis and pneumonia
- An increased risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)
- In children aged 18 months and younger in the United States, secondhand smoke exposure is responsible for:
- 150,000–300,000 new cases of bronchitis and pneumonia annually
- Approximately 7,500–15,000 hospitalizations annually
Who uses smokeless tobacco?
- 15% of high school boys use smokeless tobacco, and an estimated 9% of all high school students use smokeless tobacco.
- 3.5% of all adults use smokeless tobacco.
- Among the 50 states and DC, smokeless tobacco use was highest in Wyoming (9.1%), West Virginia (8.5%), and Mississippi (7.5%).
- In all 50 states and DC, smokeless tobacco use was significantly higher among men than women; smokeless tobacco use among men ranged from 2.0% (DC) to 17.1% (West Virginia).
- Data suggests that men, young adults (aged 18–24 years), and those with a high school education or less are more likely to use smokeless tobacco.
How is smokeless tobacco harmful?
- Smokeless tobacco contains 28 cancer-causing agents (carcinogens).
- Smokeless tobacco is a known cause of cancer; it causes oral and pancreatic cancer.
- Smokeless tobacco is also strongly associated with leukoplakia—a precancerous lesion of the soft tissue in the mouth that consists of a white patch or plaque that cannot be scraped off.
- Smokeless tobacco is associated with recession of the gums, gum disease, and tooth decay.
- Smokeless tobacco use during pregnancy increases the risks for preeclampsia (i.e., a condition that may include high blood pressure, fluid retention, and swelling), premature birth, and low birth weight.
- Smokeless tobacco use by men causes reduced sperm count and abnormal sperm cells.
- Smokeless tobacco contains nicotine, and using it leads to nicotine addiction and dependence.
- Adolescents who use smokeless tobacco are more likely to become cigarette smokers.
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