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Kick Butts Day is a program of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids

Tobacco 101

The Toll of Tobacco in the United States

Last Updated: Feb. 6, 2015

Despite enormous progress in reducing smoking, tobacco use is still the leading cause of preventable death in the United States and imposes a terrible toll on families, businesses and government.

Tobacco kills more than 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 more than $150 billion in lost productivity each year.

Find the toll of tobacco in your state

The Toll of Tobacco in the United States

High school students who are current (past month) smokers 7.6% or 1.1 million [Boys: 7.6%, Girls: 7.5%]
High school males who are current cigar smokers (female use much lower) 9.0%
High school students who are current e-cigarette users 11.7%
Kids (under 18) who try smoking for the first time each day 2,000
Kids (under 18) who become new regular, daily smokers each day 300+
Kids (3-11) exposed to secondhand smoke 40.6% [Black: 67.9%, White: 37.2%]
Adults in the U.S. who smoke 13.9% [Men: 15.8%, Women: 12.2%]


Deaths and Disease in the USA from Tobacco Use

People who die each year from their own cigarette smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke. more than 480,000
Kids under 18 alive today who will ultimately die from smoking (unless smoking rates decline) 5.6 million
People in the U.S. 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 more than 200,000 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.


Tobacco-Related Monetary Costs in the USA

Total annual public and private health care expenditures caused by smoking: Approximately $170 Billion

Annual health care expenditures solely from secondhand smoke exposure: $6.03 billion

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.

Productivity losses caused by smoking each year: $151 billion

[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.


Tobacco Industry Advertising & Political Influence

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.

Sources: Toll of Tobacco in the United States.

Last updated Nov. 8, 2018

The toll of tobacco in your state

Alabama Indiana Nebraska South Carolina
Alaska Iowa Nevada South Dakota
Arizona Kansas New Hampshire Tennessee
Arkansas Kentucky New Jersey Texas
California Louisiana New Mexico Utah
Colorado Maine New York Vermont
Connecticut Massachusetts North Carolina Virginia
Delaware Maryland North Dakota Washington
Florida Michigan Ohio Washington D.C.
Georgia Minnesota Oklahoma West Virginia
Hawaii Mississippi Oregon Wisconsin
Idaho Missouri Pennsylvania Wyoming
Illinois Montana Rhode Island


Learn more about the global toll of tobacco


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