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

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

The tobacco industry spends billions of dollars each year on cigarette and smokeless tobacco advertising and promotions.6,7

  • $9.06 billion was spent on advertising and promotion of cigarettes and smokeless tobacco combined—about $25 million every day, and more than $1 million every hour.

  • Price discounts to retailers account for 73.3% of all cigarette marketing (about $6.16 billion). These are discounts paid in order to reduce the price of cigarettes to consumers

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.

  • In fiscal year 2020, states will collect $27.2 billion from tobacco taxes and settlements in court, but will only spend $740 million in the same year. That’s only 2.7% of it spent on programs that can stop young people from becoming smokers and help current smokers quit.8

  • Right now, not a single state out of 50 funds these programs at CDC’s “recommended” level. Only three states (Alaska, California, and Maine) give even 70% of the full recommended amount. Twenty-eight states and the District of Columbia spend less than 20 percent of what the CDC recommends. One state, Connecticut, gives no state funds for prevention and quit-smoking programs.8

  • Spending 12% (about $3.3 billion) of the $27.2 billion would fund every state’s tobacco control program at CDC-recommended levels.8

Cigarette Smoking in the US

Percentage of U.S. adults aged 18 years or older who were current cigarette smokers in 2018:10

  • 13.7% of all adults (34.2 million people): 15.6% of men, 12.0% of women

    • About 19 of every 100 people with mixed-race heritage (non-Hispanic) (19.1%)

    • Nearly 23 of every 100 non-Hispanic American Indians/Alaska Natives (22.6%)

    • Nearly 15 of every 100 non-Hispanic Blacks (14.6%)

    • About 15 of every 100 non-Hispanic Whites (15.0%)

    • Nearly 10 of every 100 Hispanics (9.8%)

    • About 7 of every 100 non-Hispanic Asians (7.1%)

Note: Current cigarette smokers are defined as people 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, nearly 7 in 10 (68.0%) adult cigarette smokers wanted to stop smoking.

  • In 2018, more than half (55.1%) adult cigarette smokers had made a quit attempt in the past year.

  • In 2018, more than 7 out of every 100 (7.5%) people who tried to quit succeeded.

  • From 2012–2018, the Tips From Former Smokers® campaign has motivated approximately one million tobacco smokers to quit for good.