Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of death, disease, and disability in the US. Each year, around 443,000 people die from smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke, and another 8.6 million suffer from a serious illness from smoking. Two new CDC reports indicate that, despite the dangers of tobacco use, about 46.6 million adults in the US smoke, and 88 million nonsmokers are exposed to secondhand smoke.
Cigarette smoking causes about one of every five deaths in the United States each year. Cigarette smoking is estimated to cause the following:
- More than 480,000 deaths annually (including deaths from secondhand smoke)
- 278,544 deaths annually among men (including deaths from secondhand smoke)
- 201,773 deaths annually among women (including deaths from secondhand smoke)
Cigarette smoking causes premature death:
- Life expectancy for smokers is at least 10 years shorter than for nonsmokers.
- Quitting smoking before the age of 40 reduces the risk of dying from smoking-related disease by about 90%.2
No level of secondhand smoke (SHS) exposure is safe. SHS exposure occurs when nonsmokers breathe in smoke exhaled by smokers or from burning tobacco products. It kills more than 400 infants and 41,000 adult nonsmokers* every year. Exposure to SHS among US nonsmokers has declined, but progress has not been the same for everyone. SHS exposure is more common among children ages 3 to 11 years, blacks, people living below the poverty level, and those who rent housing.
State and city officials can help protect children and adult nonsmokers from SHS in the places they live, visit, and work by using proven methods to eliminate smoking in:
- Indoor areas of all public places such as restaurants, bars, casinos, and other private worksites.
- Multiunit housing such as apartments, condominiums, and government funded housing.