All Groups (General Public)
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 or make illnesses worse, including:
- Buerger’s Disease
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
- Gum Disease
- Heart Disease and Stroke
- Vision Loss
Learn what percent of people currently smokes cigarettes, both in the United States overall and among specific population groups.
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Meet Terrie H. Terrie lived in North Carolina and began smoking in high school. At 40, she was diagnosed with oral and throat cancers and had her larynx removed. She died at age 53 of smoking-related cancer.
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.
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 a letter to her 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.”
- quitSTART appexternal icon—tips, information, and challenges to help you quit
Learn the real stories of people who are suffering from smoking-related diseases and disabilities.
- Xu X, Shrestha SS, Trivers KF, Neff L, Armour BS, King BA. U.S. Healthcare Spending Attributable to Cigarette Smoking in 2014. Preventive Medicine 2021 (150): 106529. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ypmed.2021.106529.
- Shrestha SS, Ghimire R, Wang X, Trivers KF, Homa DM, Armour BS. Cost of Cigarette Smoking Attributable Productivity Losses, United States, 2018. Forthcoming at Am J Prev Med 2022.
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2014. The Health Consequences of Smoking—50 Years of Progress: a Report of the Surgeon General. U.S. Department of Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health, Atlanta. https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/sgr/50th-anniversary/index.htm.
- Max W, Sung HY, Shi Y. Deaths from secondhand smoke exposure in the United States: economic implications. American Journal of Public Health 2012;102(11): 2173–80. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2012.300805.