- Overall mortality among both male and female smokers in the United States is about three times higher than that among similar people who never smoked..1
- The major causes of excess mortality among smokers are diseases that are related to smoking, including cancer and respiratory and vascular disease.1,2,3,4
- Smokeless tobacco is a known cause of human cancer.5 In addition, the nicotine in smokeless tobacco may increase the risk for sudden death from a condition where the heart does not beat properly (ventricular arrhythmias); as a result, the heart pumps little or no blood to the body's organs.5
Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of death in the United States.1,3
Cigarettes and Death
Cigarette smoking causes about one of every five deaths in the United States each year.1,6 Cigarette smoking is estimated to cause the following:1
- More than 480,000 deaths annually (including deaths from secondhand smoke)
- 278,544 deaths annually among men (including deaths from secondhand smoke)
- 201,773 deaths annually among women (including deaths from secondhand smoke)
Cigarette use causes premature death:
- Life expectancy for smokers is at least 10 years shorter than for nonsmokers.1,2
- Quitting smoking before the age of 40 reduces the risk of dying from smoking-related disease by about 90%.2
Secondhand Smoke and Death
Exposure to secondhand smoke causes nearly 42,000 deaths each year among adults in the United States:1
- Secondhand smoke causes 7,333 annual deaths from lung cancer.1
- Secondhand smoke causes 33,951 annual deaths from heart disease.1
Increased Risk for Death Among Men
- Men who smoke increase their risk of dying from bronchitis and emphysema by 17 times; from cancer of the trachea, lung, and bronchus by more than 23 times.1
- Smoking increases the risk of dying from coronary heart disease among middle-aged men by almost four times.1
Increased Risk for Death Among Women
- Women who smoke increase their risk of dying from bronchitis and emphysema by 12 times; from cancer of the trachea, lung, and bronchus by more than 12 times.1
- Between 1960 and 1990, deaths from lung cancer among women increased by more than 500%.7 In 1987, lung cancer surpassed breast cancer to become the leading cause of cancer death among U.S. women. In 2000, 67,600 women died from lung cancer.8 During 2010–2014, almost 282,000 women (56,359 women each year) will die from lung cancer.1
- Smoking increases the risk of dying from coronary heart disease among middle-aged women by almost five times.1
Death from Specific Diseases
Tobacco use causes disease and death. Each year, smoking causes thousands of deaths from numerous diseases. The following table lists the estimated number of smokers aged 35 years and older who die each year from smoking-related diseases.1
|aOther cancers include cancers of the lip, pharynx and oral cavity, esophagus, stomach, pancreas, larynx, cervix uteri (women), kidney and renal pelvis, bladder, liver, colon, and rectum; also acute myeloid leukemia|
|bOther heart diseases includes rheumatic heart disease, pulmonary heart disease, and other forms of heart disease.|
|cOther vascular diseases include atherosclerosis, aortic aneurysm, and other arterial diseases.|
|dCOPD is chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and includes emphysema, bronchitis, and chronic airways obstruction.|
|Malignant Neoplasms (Cancer)|
|Cardiovascular Diseases and Metabolic Diseases|
|Coronary heart disease||61,800||37,500||99,300|
|Other heart diseaseb||13,400||12,100||25,500|
|Other vascular diseasec||6,000||5,500||11,500|
|Subtotal: Cardiovascular and Metabolic||95,600||65,000||160,000|
|Pneumonia, influenza, tuberculosis||7,800||4,700||12,500|
|Total: Cancer, Cardiovascular, Metabolic Respiratory||254,100||183,300||437,400|
|Sudden infant death syndrome||236||164||400|
|Total: Perinatal Conditions||582||431||1,013|
|Coronary heart disease||19,152||14,799||33,951|
|Total: Secondhand smoke||23,526||17,758||41,284|
|TOTAL Attributable Deaths||278,544||201,773||480,317|
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Health Consequences of Smoking—50 Years of Progress. A Report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health, 2014 [accessed 2014 Feb 6].
- 21st Century Hazards of Smoking and Benefits of Cessation in the United States. [PDF–782 KB]. New England Journal of Medicine, 2013;368(4):341–50[accessed 2014 Feb 6]. .
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Health Consequences of Smoking: A Report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health, 2004[accessed 2014 Feb 6].
- National Cancer Institute. Cigars: Health Effects and Trends [PDF–2.93 MB]. Smoking and Tobacco Control Monograph No. 9. Bethesda (MD): U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, National Cancer Institute, 1998.[accessed 2014 Feb 6].
- World Health Organization. Smokeless Tobacco and Some Tobacco-Specific N-Nitrosamines [PDF–3.18 MB]. International Agency for Research on Cancer Monographs on the Evaluation of Carcinogenic Risks to Humans Vol. 89. Lyon, (France): World Health Organization, International Agency for Research on Cancer, 2007[accessed 2014 Feb 6].
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. QuickStats: Number of Deaths from 10 Leading Causes—National Vital Statistics System, United States, 2010. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 2013: 62(08);155[accessed 2014 Feb 6].
- Novotny TE, Giovino GA. Tobacco Use. In: Brownson RC, Remington PL, Davis JR, editors. Chronic Disease Epidemiology and Control. Washington: American Public Health Association, 1998:117–48[cited 2014 Feb 6].
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Women and Smoking: A Report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta: 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, 2001[accessed 2014 Feb 6].
For Further Information
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion
Office on Smoking and Health
Media Inquiries: Contact CDC's Office on Smoking and Health press line at 770-488-5493.
- Page last reviewed: November 21, 2014
- Page last updated: February 6, 2014
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