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World No Tobacco Day --- May 31, 2004

"Up in Smoke: Tobacco's Cost to the Family" is the U.S. theme of this year's World No Tobacco Day, May 31. Tobacco use is responsible for nearly one in 10 adult deaths worldwide and five million deaths each year (1).

In the United States, on average, men and women who smoke have their lives cut short by 13.2 and 14.5 years, respectively (2). Each year, secondhand smoke is associated with thousands of new cases of asthma, bronchitis, and pneumonia among children and an increased risk for sudden infant death syndrome (2). The economic toll for smoking exceeds $150 billion (i.e., $3,400 per smoker) per year (3). In 1994, smoking-related Social Security Survivors Insurance payments cost the nation about $1.4 billion (4). The poorest socioeconomic groups suffer the consequences of tobacco use the most (5), because of adverse health effects and having less money to spend on basic items such as food, education, and health care (6). Additional information is available at


  1. World Bank. Curbing the epidemic: governments and the economics of tobacco control, 1999.
    Available at
  2. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The health consequences of smoking: a report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta, Georgia: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, CDC, 2004.
  3. CDC. Annual smoking-attributable mortality, years of potential life lost, and economic costs---United States, 1995--1999. MMWR 2002;51:300--3.
  4. Leistikow BN, Martin DC, Milano CE. Estimates of smoking-attributable deaths at ages 15--54, motherless or fatherless youths, and resulting social security costs in the United States in 1994. Prev Med 2000;30:353--60.
  5. Jha P, Chaloupka F. Tobacco control in developing countries. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press, 2000.
  6. De Beyer J, Lovelace C, Yurekli A. Poverty and tobacco. Tob Control 2001;10:210--1.

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