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Tobacco

Tobacco use is the single most preventable cause of disease, disability, and death in the United States,[1] yet 45.3 million U.S. adults smoke cigarettes.[2] The harmful effects of smoking are not limited to the smoker. More than 126 million nonsmoking Americans—including children and adults—are exposed to secondhand smoke regularly.[3]

Cigarettes are not the only form of tobacco use. Smokeless tobacco, cigars, pipes, and secondhand smoke also have harmful health consequences.

The following facts demonstrate the challenge that tobacco use poses in the United States:

  • Approximately 443,000 people die prematurely from smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke each year.[4]
  • Approximately 8.6 million people have a serious illness caused by smoking.[5]
  • On average, tobacco use costs our nation $96 billion in direct medical expenses per year.[6]
  • Each year, primarily due to secondhand smoke exposure, an estimated 3,000 nonsmoking Americans die of lung cancer; more than 46,000 die of heart disease; and about 150,000–300,000 children younger than 18 months of age have lower respiratory tract infections.[3]
  • Each day, approximately 3,450 young people between 12 and 17 years of age smoke their first cigarette, and an estimated 850 youth become daily cigarette smokers.[7]
  • More than 80% of adult smokers begin smoking before 18 years of age.[8]

CPPW communities are working to address tobacco use. Below are examples of their activities:

  • Encourage school districts to incorporate tobacco prevention education into student curriculum
  • Collaborate with restaurant and bar owners to limit patrons’ exposure to secondhand smoke
  • Promote available tobacco cessation services
  • Work with retailers who sell tobacco products to limit point-of-purchase tobacco advertisements

For more information about specific CPPW community activities, click here.

  1. Danaei G, Ding EL, Mozaffarian D, Taylor B, Rehm J, Murray CJL, Ezzati M. The Preventable Causes of Death in the United States: Comparative Risk Assessment of Dietary, Lifestyle, and Metabolic Risk Factors. PLoS Med 2009; 6(4): e1000058. Available from: http://www.plosmedicine.org/article/info:doi/10.1371/journal.pmed.1000058
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Vital Signs: Current Cigarette Smoking Among Adults Aged ≥ 18 Years—United States, 2009. MMWR 2010;59(35):1135–40. Available from: http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5935a3.htm?s_cid=mm5935a3_w
  3. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Health Consequences of Involuntary Exposure to Tobacco Smoke: A Report of the Surgeon General—Executive Summary. Atlanta, Georgia: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Coordinating Center for Health Promotion, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health, 2006. Available from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK44324
  4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Smoking-Attributable Mortality, Years of Potential Life Lost, and Productivity Losses—United States, 2000–2004. MMWR 2008;57(45):1226–1228. Available from: http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5745a3.htm
  5. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Cigarette Smoking Attributable Morbidity — U.S., 2000. Morbidity and MMWR. 2003 Sept; 52(35): 842-844. Available from: http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5235a4.htm
  6. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Smoking-Attributable Mortality, Years of Potential Life Lost, and Productivity Losses—United States, 2000–2004. MMWR 2008;57(45):1226–1228. Available from: http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5745a3.htm
  7. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Results from the 2009 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Detailed Tables. Available from: http://www.oas.samhsa.gov/NSDUH/2k9NSDUH/tabs/Sect4peTabs5to8.pdf [PDF-36.30 KB]
  8. Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. The Path to Smoking Addiction Starts at Very Young Ages. Washington: Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, 2009. Available from: http://www.tobaccofreekids.org/research/factsheets/pdf/0127.pdf [PDF-49.65 KB]
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