Tobacco, Smoking, and Nicotine Addiction Statistics and Facts

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Worldwide, one in ten adults is a smoker. In the U.S. the number of smokers is about double, at one in five adults.

Every year, tobacco use kills more Americans than World War II and the Vietnam War combined. Tobacco related illnesses kill 440,000 US citizens per year.1

Tobacco use causes more than five million deaths a year. For every one person who dies from smoking, twenty more suffer a smoking related illness.

Many diseases are linked to tobacco and nicotine: cardiovascular disease, stroke, lung cancer, cancer of the kidney, cancer of the larynx and neck, mouth cancer and breast cancer2

On average, smokers die 13 to 14 years earlier than non-smokers3

Approximately 70% of smokers want to quit. About 40% try to quit every year.

Of those who try to quit, about 7% stay off nicotine for more than a year. The vast majority do not make it even a week without cigarettes.

The highest rate of smoking is found in the Native American ethnic group at 36.4% and the lowest in the Asian community (9.6%).

About one in five high school students smoke, although this number is falling.

About half of those who start smoking as an adolescent will continue to smoke for the next 15 to 20 years.

The cigarette industry spends about 34 million dollars a day on advertising and promotion (2006).

photo by John Nyboer


  • 1"Cigarette Smoking Among Adults-United States," Centers for Disease Control, 2001. MMRW 2003; 52(40); 953-956.
  • 2"The Burden of Tobacco," Univ. of Medicine and Dentistry, New Jersey, March 2005
  • 3CDC, 2000

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