All Groups (General Public)
Know the Facts
Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of preventable death and disease and kills more than 480,000 Americans each year. More than 41,000 of these deaths are the result of exposure to secondhand smoke.
For every smoking-related death, at least 30 people live with a serious smoking-related illness. Smoking causes immediate damage to your body, which can lead to long-term illnesses, including:
- Buerger’s Disease
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
- Gum Disease
- Heart Disease and Stroke
- Vision Loss
Cigarette smoking-related illness in the United States costs more than $300 billion a year, including nearly $170 billion in direct medical care for adults and more than $156 billion in lost productivity due to premature death and exposure to secondhand smoke.1
- Learn what percent of people currently smoke cigarettes, both in the United States overall and among specific populations.
Learn the real stories of people who are suffering from smoking-related diseases and disabilities.
Meet Tonya M. Tonya, age 49, lives in North Carolina. She started smoking at age 12 and was diagnosed with heart failure at age 38. Tonya relies on a battery-operated heart pump inserted in her chest to help keep her alive.
Meet Rebecca C. Rebecca, age 43, lives in Indiana and started smoking as a teenager in California. She lost all five toes on her right foot to Buerger’s disease, a smoking-related condition that cut off the blood supply to her foot.
Meet Michael F. Michael, age 57, lives in Florida and started smoking at age 12. He has smoking-related chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). He had to quit working at age 51 because he was too sick.
Meet Geri M. Geri, age 58, lives in Michigan and started smoking menthol cigarettes at age 20. She lives with smoking-related chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and relies on oxygen therapy to help her breathe.
Learn more about all Tips participants in our Real Stories section.
Call a quitline. A quitline provides free coaching over the phone to help you quit smoking. Quitline coaches can answer questions, help you develop a quit plan, and provide support. Coaching help is available in several languages:
- English: 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669)
- Spanish: 1-855-DÉJELO-YA (1-855-335-3569)
- Mandarin and Cantonese: 1-800-838-8917
- Korean: 1-800-556-5564
- Vietnamese: 1-800-778-8440
Use an app.
The quitSTART appexternal icon is a free smartphone app that helps you quit smoking with tailored tips, inspiration, and challenges.
Sign up for texts. Smokefree.govexternal icon offers free text messaging programsexternal icon that give 24/7 encouragement, advice, and tips to help you quit smoking for good. You can sign up or opt-out at any time.
- 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 2018 Feb 22].
Beatrice R., age 40, started smoking regularly when she was 13 and smoked for 25 years. She decided to quit for good when her young son wrote her a letter asking her to stop smoking. She used patches and other medicines to help ease withdrawal symptoms. Now Beatrice has more energy than when she smoked, and she cooks more—because food tastes so much better. She encourages anyone who wants to quit smoking to do it, and to get help if they need it.
“I want to offer hope to people that it is possible for you to join the ranks of nonsmokers.”