CDC Launches #20Million Memorial to Honor Lives Lost to Smoking

Media Statement

For Immediate Release: Tuesday, October 7, 2014
Contact: Media Relations, Office of Communication
(404) 639-3286

CDC launched today the “#20 Million Memorial,” a social media effort that honors the more than 20 million Americans who have died from smoking since the first Surgeon General’s Report on Smoking and Health was issued over 50 years ago. The #20Million Memorial invites family members and loved ones to remember the faces, names, stories and memories of smoking’s victims.

The #20Million Memorial will collect social media posts that share a message or photo dedicated to someone who lost their life due to illnesses caused by smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke. Each post on Facebook, Google+, Instagram, Twitter or Vine using the hashtag “#20Million” will become a part of the CDC’s #20Million Memorial and be displayed at

The memorial will serve as a reminder that millions of people have died from the health consequences of smoking, which include cancers, cardiovascular and lung diseases, miscarriage, and sudden infant death syndrome. Of the 20 million, 2.5 million of those were nonsmokers who died from heart disease or lung cancer caused by exposure to secondhand smoke.

Since 1964, the adult smoking rate has declined dramatically, but 42.1 million Americans continue to smoke. Quitting smoking at any age can greatly reduce the risk of developing a disease or illness caused by smoking. For free help with quitting, visit For more information on the #20Million Memorial, please visit


Page last reviewed: October 7, 2014