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Facts about smoking.

Who Smokes?

  • Each day, more than 3,200 people under 18 smoke their first cigarette, and approximately 2,100 youth and young adults become daily smokers.
  • 9 out of 10 smokers start before the age of 18, and 98% start smoking by age 26.
  • 1 in 5 adults and teenagers smoke.
  • In 2011, an estimated 19% of U.S. adults were cigarette smokers.
  • Approximately 18% of high school students smoke cigarettes.
  • In 2011, nearly 18% of high school boys were current cigar users.
  • From 1964 to 2014, the proportion of adult smokers declined from 42.0% to 18.0%.

Why is smoking harmful to smokers?

General Health

  • More than 16 million people already have at least one disease from smoking.
  • More than 20 million Americans have died because of smoking since 1964, including approximately 2.5 million deaths due to exposure to secondhand smoke.
  • 8.6 million people live with a serious illness caused by smoking.
  • On average, smokers die 13 to 14 years earlier than nonsmokers.


  • Smoking causes many other types of cancer, including cancers of the throat, mouth, nasal cavity, esophagus, stomach, pancreas, kidney, bladder, and cervix, as well as acute myeloid leukemia.
  • Men with prostate cancer who smoke may be more likely to die from the disease than nonsmokers.


  • 5.6 million children alive today will ultimately die early from smoking. That is equal to 1 child out of every 13 alive in the U.S. today.


  • Smokers are 30% to 40% more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than nonsmokers.

Why is smoking harmful to others?

General Population

  • An estimated 88 million nonsmoking Americans, including 54% of children aged 3–11 years, are exposed to secondhand smoke.
  • Each year, primarily because of exposure to secondhand smoke, an estimated 3,000 nonsmoking Americans die of lung cancer,
  • Nonsmokers who are exposed to secondhand smoke at home or work increase their lung cancer risk by 20–30%.
  • Nonsmokers who are exposed to secondhand smoke at home or work increase their heart disease risk by 25–30%.
  • More than 33,000 nonsmokers die every year in the United States from coronary heart disease caused by exposure to secondhand smoke.


  • More than 100,000 of the smoking-caused deaths over the last 50 years were of babies who died from SIDS.
  • More than 400,000 babies born in the U.S. every year are exposed to chemicals in cigarette smoke before birth, because their mothers smoke.
  • In babies aged 18 months and younger in the United States, secondhand smoke exposure is responsible for:

    • 150,000–300,000 new cases of bronchitis and pneumonia annually
    • Approximately 7,500–15,000 hospitalizations annually

  • Babies who breathe secondhand smoke are sick more often with bronchitis, pneumonia, and ear infections.


  • Children are at particular risk for exposure to secondhand smoke: 53.6% of young children (aged 3–11 years) were exposed to secondhand smoke in 2007–2008.
  • While only 5.4% of adult nonsmokers in the United States lived with someone who smoked inside their home, 18.2% of children (aged 3–11 years) lived with someone who smoked inside their home in 2007–2008.
  • In children, secondhand smoke causes:

    • Ear infections
    • More frequent and severe asthma attacks
    • Respiratory issues, including coughing, sneezing, and shortness of breath
    • Respiratory infections, including bronchitis and pneumonia
    • An increased risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)

CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley - CDC sends message with graphic anti-smoking ads
Perhaps One Of The Best Anti-Smoking Ads Ever Created.