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Cigarette Smoking-Attributable Morbidity—United States, 2000

September 5, 2003 / Vol. 52 / No. 35

MMWR Highlights

  • About 8.6 million people in the United States have at least one serious illness caused by smoking.
  • Smoking-attributable illness is a major contributor to the $75 billion per year in direct medical costs from smoking.
  • Approximately 440,000 people in the United States die of a smoking-attributable illness, resulting in 5.6 million years of potential life lost and $82 billion in lost productivity from smoking.
  • For every person who dies of a smoking attributable disease, there are 20 more people suffering with at least one serious illness from smoking.
  • Among current smokers, chronic lung diseases account for 73% of smoking attributable conditions.
  • Among former smokers, chronic lung diseases account for 50% of smoking attributable conditions, followed by heart attacks (24%).
  • Many more people are harmed by tobacco use than are indicated by death rates alone, and more individuals will experience serious chronic diseases attributed to smoking if they continue to smoke.
  • There is a need to implement proven strategies to support cessation within comprehensive prevention and cessation programs. Effective interventions include increasing the cost of cigarettes, increasing clean indoor air regulations, reducing treatment cost by providing insurance coverage, implementing telephone smoking quit-lines, offering treatment to smokers every time they are seen in health care systems, and implementing media campaigns to encourage smokers to quit.
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