Facts About Smoking

The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention is one of the major operating components of the Department of Health and Human Service.  As the nation’s health protection agency, CDC saves lives and protects people from health threats. To do this, CDC conducts critical science and provides health information that protects our nation against expensive and dangerous health threats, and responds when these arise.

According to the CDC, tobacco use remains the single largest preventable cause of death and disease in the United States. Cigarette smoking kills more than 480,000 Americans each year, with more than 41,000 of these deaths from exposure to secondhand smoke.1 In addition, 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 $156 billion in lost productivity.12

Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death. More than 16 million Americans are living with a disease caused by smoking.1

  • 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 leads to disease and disability and harms nearly every organ of the body.1

  • Worldwide, tobacco use causes nearly 6 million deaths per year, and current trends show that tobacco use will cause more than 8 million deaths annually by 2030.2
  • 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.3
  • 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.1,6

  • 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

Cigarette Smoking in the US

Percentage of U.S. adults aged 18 years or older who were current cigarette smokers in 2016:9

  • 15.5% of all adults (37.8 million people): 17.5% of males, 13.5% of females
  • Nearly 32 of every 100 non-Hispanic American Indians/Alaska Natives (31.8%)
  • About 25 of every 100 non-Hispanic multiple race individuals (25.2%)
  • Nearly 17 of every 100 non-Hispanic Blacks (16.5%)
  • Nearly 17 of every 100 non-Hispanic Whites (16.6%)
  • Nearly 11 of every 100 Hispanics (10.7%)
  • 9 of every 100 non-Hispanic Asians (9.0%)

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.1

  • Each day, more than 3,200 people younger than 18 years of age smoke their first cigarette.
  • Each day, an estimated 2,100 youth and young adults who have been occasional smokers become daily cigarette smokers.

Many adult cigarette smokers want to quit smoking.

  • In 2015:9
  • 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.10

NOTE:  This content come from the Centers for Disease Control. References for the statistics above can be found here.