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  • Tobacco use is directly responsible for more than 25 causes of death.
  • Estimates are that 4 million people will die of tobacco-related illnesses worldwide this year; by the 2020's, the death toll will increase to 10 million deaths per year.
  • In the US, cigarette smoking accounts for approximately 300,000 to 430,000 deaths (that's more than 10 times as many as die from breast cancer).
  • Nearly 1 in 5 deaths in the US are related to smoking.
  • Between one third and one half of all smokers will die prematurely of a disease caused by their tobacco use.
  • Half of all heart related causes of death in women YOUNGER than 65 are due to cigarette smoking.
  • One out of 3 cancer deaths are related to smoking.
  • While smoking overall has decreased more than 40% since 1965, lung cancer deaths among women have increased 150% between 1974-1994 compared to only a 20% increase in men.
  • Tobacco use does not just cause lung cancer:† it is linked to cancers of the mouth and throat, esophagus, pancreas, bladder, breast and cervix.
  • Lung cancer surpassed breast cancer in 1987 as the leading cancer killer of women.
  • Nearly 3,000 youths (under 18) begin to smoke regularly in the US each day.†
  • 9 out of 10 smokers report that they started smoking before age 18.
  • US cigarette use peaked in 1965 when 42% of adults smoked (50% of men and 32% of women).
  • In 1997, nearly 25% of American adults (one in 4) smoked cigarettes:† 28% of men and 22% of women.
  • Smoking is more common among individuals with less education and lower income.
  • Smoking prevalence varies by race:† 34% of Native American adults smoke; 26% of African American adults smoke; 25% of Caucasian American adults smoke; 20% of Hispanic American adults smoke; and 17% of Asian American adults smoke.
  • Parental smoking is one of the strongest risk factors for children and teens beginning to smoke.†
  • Women who smoke during pregnancy have babies that weigh, on average, 7 ounces less than babies of nonsmoking mothers.† These babies show nicotine levels in their blood equal to adult levels. . .and they go through nicotine withdrawal in their first days of life.
  • Mothers who smoke have children with significantly higher rates of ear infections, even when the mothers report that they "never" smoke in front of the child.
  • SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) occurs more often in babies of smoking moms.
  • Women who smoke are twice as likely to lose their vision, even after they quit.
  • Women who smoke are 4 times as likely to have serious side effects from birth control pills.
  • Nicotine is not only addictive, it is more addictive than most narcotics.
  • The economic burden of tobacco use in the US is huge:† the annual toll of tobacco use is $50 billion in health care costs and $50 billion in indirect costs to society.
  • 351,564 American children under age 18 will start smoking in 2001 alone; of these, 112,501 will eventually die from a smoking related illness.

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Source:† JAMA 8/9/00; facts on file, American Cancer Society

Created: 11/10/2000  -  Donnica Moore, M.D.

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