Last Updated: Feb. 6, 2015
Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States, imposing a terrible toll in health, lives and dollars on families, businesses and government. Tobacco kills 480,000 people annually – more than AIDS, alcohol, car accidents, illegal drugs, murders and suicides combined.
Tobacco costs the U.S. approximately $170 billion in health care expenditures and $151 billion in lost productivity each year.
While the United States has made major progress against tobacco use, nearly one in five Americans still smokes, and more than 2,800 kids try their first cigarette each day.
|High school students who are current (past month) smokers||15.7% or 2.7 million [Boys: 16.4% Girls: 15.0%]|
|High school males who currently use smokeless tobacco||14.7% [Girls: 2.9%]|
|Kids (under 18) who try smoking for the first time each day||2,800+|
|Kids (under 18) who become new regular, daily smokers each day||700|
|Kids (3-11) exposed to secondhand smoke||40.6% [67.9% Black, 37.2% White]|
|Packs of cigarettes consumed by kids each year||540 million (roughly $1.2 billion per year in sales revenue)|
|Adults in the USA who smoke||17.8% or 42.1 million [Men: 20.5% Women: 15.3%]|
|Adults in the USA who smoke daily||13.7%|
|People who die each year from their own cigarette smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke.||approx. 480,000|
|Kids under 18 alive today who will ultimately die from smoking (unless smoking rates decline)||5.6 million|
|People in the USA who currently suffer from smoking-caused illness||16 million|
Smoking kills more people than alcohol, AIDS, car accidents, illegal drugs, murders, and suicides combined, with thousands more dying from spit tobacco use. Of the roughly 270,000 kids who become new regular, daily smokers each year, almost a third will ultimately die from it. In addition, smokers lose a decade of life because of their smoking.
Additional smoking-caused health costs caused by tobacco use include annual expenditures for health and developmental problems of infants and children caused by mothers smoking or being exposed to second-hand smoke during pregnancy or by kids being exposed to parents smoking after birth. Also not included above are costs from smokeless or spit tobacco use, adult secondhand smoke exposure, or pipe/cigar smoking.
[Only includes costs from productive work lives shortened by smoking-caused death. Not included: costs from smoking caused disability during work lives, smoking-caused sick days, or smoking-caused productivity declines when on the job.]
Other non-healthcare costs from tobacco use include residential and commercial property losses from smoking-caused fires, tobacco-related cleaning & maintenance, and expenditures through Social Security Survivors Insurance for kids who have lost at least one parent from a smoking-caused death.
Research studies have found that kids are three times as sensitive to tobacco advertising than adults and are more likely to be influenced to smoke by cigarette marketing than by peer pressure; and that a third of underage experimentation with smoking is attributable to tobacco company advertising and promotion.
Tobacco companies also spend enormous amounts to influence state and local politics; and, when threatened by the federal McCain tobacco control bill in 1998, spent more than $125 million in direct and grassroots lobbying to defeat it. Since 1998, Altria (Philip Morris) has spent more on lobbying Congress than almost any other business.