All Groups (General Public)
Know the Facts
Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death and kills about 443,000 Americans each year. An estimated 49,000 of these deaths are the result of exposure to secondhand smoke.
Smoking causes immediate damage to your body, which can lead to long-term illnesses, including—
- Heart disease
- Asthma attacks
- Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) (a condition that makes it harder and harder to breathe)
For every smoking-related death, another 20 people suffer with a smoking-related disease.
Smoking-related illness in the United States costs $96 billion in medical costs and $97 billion in lost productivity each year.
For More Information
- Detailed Statistics For detailed statistics on how smoking affects groups across the United States, please see our Current Cigarette Smoking Among Specific Populations — United States on our Cigarette Smoking in the United States page.
Real Stories: People Featured in Tips
Learn the real stories of people who are suffering from smoking-related diseases and disabilities.
Meet Bill. Bill, age 40, lives in Michigan and has diabetes. At 15, he started smoking cigarettes. At 39, he quit smoking after his leg was amputated due to poor circulation — made worse from smoking.
Meet Terrie. Terrie lived in North Carolina and began smoking in high school. At 40, she was diagnosed with oral and throat cancers and had her larynx removed. She died of cancer on September 16, 2013. She was 53.
Learn more about all Tips participants in our Real Stories section.
You can call 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669).
Quitline coaches can answer questions, help you develop a quit plan, and provide support.
Medicare currently covers quit-smoking treatments. The benefit covers two tobacco cessation attempts per year and up to four face-to-face counseling sessions per attempt.
Several provisions of the Affordable Care Act that take effect in 2014 will expand private health insurance and Medicaid coverage of proven quit-smoking treatments, including counseling and FDA-approved cessation medications.
Terrie, a former smoker, was diagnosed with oral and throat cancers. She spoke with the aid of an artificial voice box and worked to educate the public about the dangers of smoking. Her cancer returned many times.
"If you don't start smoking, you never have to worry about stopping."
Get email updates
To receive email updates about the Tips From Former Smokers campaign, enter your email address:
- CDC/Office on Smoking and Health
4770 Buford Highway
Atlanta, Georgia 30341-3717