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There is a wealth of data available regarding the negative health effects of tobacco use. We’ve highlighted some of the most impactful information here.

HEALTH EFFECTS OF SMOKING

  • Smoking harms nearly every organ of the body.
  • Quitting smoking lowers your risk for smoking-related diseases and can add years to your life.
  • Smoking is the leading preventable cause of death in the United States.
  • Cigarette smoking causes more than 480,000 deaths each year in the United States.
  • More than 10 times as many U.S. citizens have died prematurely from cigarette smoking than have died in all the wars fought by the United States during its history.
  • Smoking causes diminished overall heath, such as self-reported poor health, increased absenteeism from work, and increased health care utilization and cost.
  • Smoking causes stroke and coronary heart disease—the leading causes of death in the United States.
  • Smoking can make it harder for a woman to become pregnant and can affect her baby's health before and after birth.
  • Cigarette smoking causes most cases of lung cancer.
  • Smoking can cause cancer almost anywhere in your body.
  • Ten years after you quit smoking, your risk for lung cancer drops by half.
  • If nobody smoked, one of every three cancer deaths in the United States would not happen.

SECONDHAND SMOKE

  • Secondhand smoke is smoke from burning tobacco products, such as cigarettes, cigars, or pipes.
  • Secondhand smoke also is smoke that has been exhaled, or breathed out, by the person smoking.
  • Tobacco smoke contains more than 7,000 chemicals, including hundreds that are toxic and about 70 that can cause cancer.
  • There is no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke.
  • Secondhand smoke causes lung cancer in adults who have never smoked.
  • Secondhand smoke causes nearly 34,000 premature deaths from heart disease each year in the United States among nonsmokers.
  • Exposure to secondhand smoke has immediate adverse effects on the cardiovascular system and can cause coronary heart disease and stroke.
  • Breathing secondhand smoke can have immediate adverse effects on your blood and blood vessels, increasing the risk of having a heart attack.
  • Secondhand smoke harms children and adults, and the only way to fully protect nonsmokers is to eliminate smoking in all homes, worksites, and public places.
  • Evidence from peer-reviewed studies examining objective measures such as taxable sales revenue and employment levels shows that smoke-free policies and regulations do not have an adverse economic impact on the hospitality industry.

COST OF SMOKING

  • Every year, tobacco companies spend billions of dollars on advertising and promotion, and tobacco use costs the United States billions of dollars in medical expenses and lost productivity.
  • In 2011, the tobacco industry spent $8.4 billion on cigarette advertising and promotional expenses in the United States alone, and 83.6% ($7.0 billion) of this expenditure was spent on price discounts.
  • Increases in cigarette prices lead to significant reductions in cigarette smoking. This is the single most effective way to reduce smoking.
  • More than 293 billion cigarettes and approximately 124.6 million pounds of smokeless tobacco were purchased in the United States in 2011.
  • Annual smoking-attributable economic costs in the United States estimated for the years 2009–2012 were more than $289 billion, including at least $133 billion for direct medical care of adults, and more than $156 billion in lost productivity, and $5.6 billion for lost productivity due to exposure to secondhand smoke.

DISPARITIES WITHIN COMMUNITIES OF COLOR

  • About one in five African American adults in the United States smokes cigarettes.
  • Diseases from smoking kill more African Americans each year than car crashes, AIDS, murders, and drug and alcohol abuse combined.
  • Smoking cigarettes puts people at risk for heart disease, cancer, and stroke, which are the three leading causes of death for African Americans in the United States.

The tobacco industry has targeted African American communities in its advertisements and promotional efforts for menthol cigarettes (e.g., campaigns that use urban culture and language to promote menthol cigarettes, tobacco-sponsored hip-hop bar nights with samples of specialty menthol cigarettes, targeted direct-mail promotions).

Get additional data at CDC.gov and QuitWithUsLA.org.

E-CIGARETTES

  • E-cigarette cartridges can contain carcinogens, such as nitrosamines and diethyleneglycol.
  • The vapor exhaled from e-cigarettes contains measurable amounts of carcinogens and toxins including formaldehyde and acetaldehyde
  • Nicotine, the main component in both e-cigarettes and cigarettes, is a highly addictive chemical that can increase the likelihood of developing heart disease, high blood pressure, ulcers, and can lead to fertility problems.
  • One study found that nicotine can cause the formation of carcinogens when it reacts with nitrous acid found in indoor air.
  • E-cigarettes have been found to have immediate adverse physiological effects after short term use. This includes lung flow resistance and lower concentrations of exhaled nitric oxide, a sign of bronchial inflammation.
  • Other studies suggest that using e-cigarettes could lead to permanent changes in lung functioning.
  • E-cigarette users have the option to refill their cartridges, which can be dangerous due to the concentrations of nicotine present in these refillable cartridges.
  • Nicotine refill bottles contain up to 7 grams of nicotine, more than 10 times more than the amount of a fatal dose of nicotine (30-60 milligrams).
  • E-cigarette liquids may remain on surfaces long after the user has left. This includes clothes, furniture, and other surfaces.

E-Cigarettes and cessation.

  • Although often promoted as smoking cessation aids, these devices are NOT regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as such.
  • One study found that callers to tobacco quitline services who used e-cigarettes were less likely to be tobacco free 7-months later than those who did not use e-cigarettes. This could show that e-cigarettes are not an effective cessation tool.

 

All data was sourced from the National Center for Disease Control at CDC.gov, and Quit With Us, LA at QuitWithUsLA.org, except for e-cigarette data which was sourced by: US Department of Health and Human Services, & US Food and Drug Administration, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, and the American Legacy Foundation. Visit all of these sites for more information on topics above.