Diseases and Death
Smoking leads to disease and disability and harms nearly every organ of the body.1
- More than 16 million Americans are living with a disease caused by smoking.
- For every person who dies because of smoking, at least 30 people live with a serious smoking-related illness.
- Smoking causes cancer, heart disease, stroke, lung diseases, diabetes, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis.
- Smoking also increases risk for tuberculosis, certain eye diseases, and problems of the immune system, including rheumatoid arthritis.
- Smoking is a known cause of erectile dysfunction in males.
Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death.
- Worldwide, tobacco use causes more than 7 million deaths per year.2 If the pattern of smoking all over the globe doesn’t change, more than 8 million people a year will die from diseases related to tobacco use by 2030.3
- Cigarette smoking is responsible for more than 480,000 deaths per year in the United States, including more than 41,000 deaths resulting from secondhand smoke exposure. This is about one in five deaths annually, or 1,300 deaths every day.1
- On average, smokers die 10 years earlier than nonsmokers.4
- If smoking continues at the current rate among U.S. youth, 5.6 million of today’s Americans younger than 18 years of age are expected to die prematurely from a smoking-related illness. This represents about one in every 13 Americans aged 17 years or younger who are alive today.1
Costs and Expenditures
The tobacco industry spends billions of dollars each year on cigarette and smokeless tobacco advertising and promotions.5,6
- In 2016, $9.5 billion was spent on advertising and promotion of cigarettes and smokeless tobacco combined—about $26 million every day, and more than $1 million every hour.
- Price discounts to retailers account for 66.7% of all cigarette marketing (about $5.8 billion). These are discounts paid in order to reduce the price of cigarettes to consumers.
Smoking costs the United States billions of dollars each year.1,7
- Total economic cost of smoking is more than $300 billion a year, including
- Nearly $170 billion in direct medical care for adults6
- More than $156 billion in lost productivity due to premature death and exposure to secondhand smoke1
State spending on tobacco prevention and control does not meet CDC-recommended levels.1,8,9
- States have billions of dollars from the taxes they put on tobacco products and money from lawsuits against cigarette companies that they can use to prevent smoking and help smokers quit. Right now, though, the states only use a very small amount of that money to prevent and control tobacco use.1,8,9
- In fiscal year 2019, states will collect a record $27.3 billion from tobacco taxes and settlements in court, but will only spend $655 million in the same year. That’s less than 2.4% spent on programs that can stop young people from becoming smokers and help current smokers quit.9
- Right now, not a single state out of 50 funds these programs at CDC’s “recommended” level. Only two states (Alaska and California) give more than 70% of the full recommended amount. Twenty-eight states and the District of Columbia spend less than 20 percent of what the CDC recommends. Three states (Connecticut, Tennessee, and West Virginia) give no state funds for prevention and quit-smoking programs.9
- Spending 12% (or about $3.3 billion) of the $27.3 billion would fund every state’s tobacco control program at CDC-recommended levels.9
Cigarette Smoking in the US
Percentage of U.S. adults aged 18 years or older who were current cigarette smokers in 2017:10
- 14.0% of all adults (34.3 million people): 15.8% of men, 12.2% of women
- About 21 of every 100 people with mixed-race heritage (non-Hispanic) (20.6%)
- 24 of every 100 non-Hispanic American Indians/Alaska Natives (24.0%)
- Nearly 15 of every 100 non-Hispanic Blacks (14.9%)
- About 15 of every 100 non-Hispanic Whites (15.2%)
- Nearly 10 of every 100 Hispanics (9.9%)
- About 7 of every 100 non-Hispanic Asians (7.1%)
Note: Current cigarette smokers are defined as persons who reported smoking at least 100 cigarettes during their lifetime and who, at the time they participated in a survey about this topic, reported smoking every day or some days.
Thousands of young people start smoking cigarettes every day.11
- Each day, about 2000 people younger than 18 years smoke their first cigarette.
- Each day, over 300 people younger than 18 years become daily cigarette smokers.
Many adult cigarette smokers want to quit smoking.
- In 2015:10
- Nearly 7 in 10 (68.0%) adult cigarette smokers wanted to stop smoking.
- More than 5 in 10 (55.4%) adult cigarette smokers had made a quit attempt in the past year.
- Since 2012, the Tips From Former Smokers® campaign has motivated at least 500,000 tobacco smokers to quit for good.12
Note: “Made a quit attempt” refers to smokers who reported that they stopped smoking for more than 1 day in the past 12 months because they were trying to quit smoking. See CDC’s Quitting Smoking fact sheet for more information.
- 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].
- World Health Organization. WHO Report on the Global Tobacco Epidemic, 2017. Geneva: World Health Organization, 2017 [accessed 2019 Jan 31].
- World Health Organization. WHO Report on the Global Tobacco Epidemic, 2011. Geneva: World Health Organization, 2011 [accessed 2018 Feb 22].
- Jha P, Ramasundarahettige C, Landsman V, et al. 21st Century Hazards of Smoking and Benefits of Cessation in the United States. New England Journal of Medicine 2013;368:341–50 [accessed 2018 Feb 22].
- Federal Trade Commission. Federal Trade Commission Cigarette Report for 2016[PDF–590 KB]. Washington: Federal Trade Commission, 2018 [accessed 2018 Mar 30].
- Federal Trade Commission. Federal Trade Commission Smokeless Tobacco Report for 2016[PDF–632 KB]. Washington: Federal Trade Commission, 2018 [accessed 2018 Mar 30].
- Xu X, Bishop EE, Kennedy SM, Simpson SA, Pechacek TF. Annual Healthcare Spending Attributable to Cigarette Smoking: An Update. American Journal of Preventive Medicine 2014;48(3):326–333 [accessed 2018 Feb 22].
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Best Practices for Comprehensive Tobacco Control Programs–2014. 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].
- Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. Broken Promises to Our Children: The 1998 State Tobacco Settlement 20 Years Later. Washington: Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, 2018 [accessed 2019 Jan 7].
- Wang TW, Asman K, Gentzke AS, et al. Tobacco Product Use Among Adults—United States, 2017. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 2018;67(44):1225-32 [accessed 2019 Jan 7].
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. 2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health Detailed Tables. [accessed 2019 Jan 31].
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Tips Impact and Results [last updated 2018 Nov 28; accessed 2019 Jan 7].
For Further Information
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion
Office on Smoking and Health
Media Inquiries: Contact CDC’s Office on Smoking and Health press line at 770-488-5493.
- Page last reviewed: February 6, 2019
- Page last updated: February 6, 2019
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