As the single most preventable cause of
death and disease in the United
tobacco use must be examined from all angles.
Why It's Important
Tobacco use accounts for one of every five deaths in the United
States, approximately 480,000 people each year. Further, for
each person who dies from tobacco use, another 33 will suffer a
tobacco-related illness; tobacco use has been linked to diseases
in nearly every organ. The national economic cost in medical
expenses and lost productivity is over $289 billion
What Is Known
After decades of study, much is known about tobacco use in the United States:
In 2019, 20.8% of adults were tobacco users, including 14.0% who used
In 2020, 6.7% of middle school students and 23.6% of high school students reported
current tobacco use. E-cigarettes were the most commonly used tobacco product among
high school (19.6%) and middle school (4.7%)
Initiation starts early; more than 80% of current adult
smokers started before the age of 18
Quitting tobacco use greatly decreases a person's risk for many negative health outcomes, some within a very short time after stopping.
There is no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke; even brief exposure can be damaging to health.
Smoke-free laws are an effective approach to reducing exposure
to secondhand smoke and to reducing the prevalence of tobacco
Who Is at Risk
Everyone is susceptible to the negative consequences of tobacco use. However, some disparities exist.
Tobacco use is more prevalent among
The most effective way to reduce the risk of tobacco-related
illness and death is to avoid using tobacco products. However,
secondhand smoke still increases the risk of disease. Policies
that ban smoking indoors, in public locations, and in vehicles
with children can help reduce the risk to everyone.
How It's Tracked
Tobacco use is tracked using a range of surveys. Some examples include: