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Home > Tobacco Use Cessation Program > Didactic Components > Tobacco Use Prevalence & Risks

Tobacco Use Prevalence & Risks:
Benefits of Cessation


In 1965...42% of the US population used tobacco. Now US adult tobacco use is 20%.
Male adult rates went down 24% and female rates went down only 11% and more women start smoking.
African Americans have a slightly higher rate than whites.
Hispanic rates have increased but are lower than whites (15%).
Native American rates are higher than all other groups (33%).
Asian Americans have the lowest adult rates (11%).
The really bad news: In the US over 1,100 adolescents become regular smokers every day.

The prevalence of tobacco use has declined less in those who are younger, female, non-caucasian, less educated, or poor and those with psychiatric or alcohol/drug problems.

Smokeless (Spit) tobacco use:
3% of adult Am males and less than 1% of females use Spit tobacco.
25% of young users start by the 6th grade and 75% start by the 9th grade.
8% of high school seniors used in last month & 2-3% use daily.

Cigar use:
From 1989-93 there was a 133% increase in cigar smokers.
Since '93 premium cigar sales (marketed to higher educated/ income individuals) have ↑ 154% but have now started to decrease.


Tobacco kills more than 400,000 people in the US every year.
Tobacco use causes more premature deaths than the combined total resulting from: cocaine, heroin, alcohol, fires, auto accidents, homicides, suicides, and AIDS.

Risk of death
     from terrorism: 1 in a million;
     as a pedestrian: 1 in 40,000;
     from auto accident: 1 in 5000;
     from tobacco use: 1 in 3.

Tobacco is responsible for 38% of all US cancer deaths, 30% of coronary heart disease, and 80-90% of chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases (emphysema and bronchitis).

More females start smoking and therefore lung cancer has surpassed breast cancer as the leading cause of female cancer death.
Pregnant women who smoke have an increased risk of: spontaneous abortions, fetal & infant deaths, premature births, underweight children, children with decreased lung function, and triggering development of cleft lip/palate.

Environmental (Passive, Secondhand) Tobacco Smoke

Secondhand smoke is the 3rd leading cause of preventable early death (behind smoking and alcohol). Passive smoke is almost as bad for fetal development as active smoking by pregnant women.

Children whose parents smoke have more: colds, bronchitis, pneumonia, worsened asthma, impaired development of lung function, risk of ear infections, and more caries in deciduous teeth.

Nonsmokers living with smokers have a increased risk of developing lung cancer and greater risk of dying early of heart disease.

For every 8 smokers who die from smoking, one innocent bystander dies from passive smoke.

Benefits of Cessation:

Stopping tobacco use decreases the risk of: lung (and many other) cancers, coronary diseases, stroke, chronic obstructive lung diseases and periodontal disease.

Being tobacco-free reduces the risk of: damage to children's health, ulcers, premature wrinkling of skin, infertility in women and impotence in men, cataracts, macular degeneration, burning your house down, being turned down by the opposite sex, killing your pets prematurely, poor athletic performance and reducing your spending money... to name just a few.

Cessation can reduce the enormous cost of tobacco use: health care costs of treating tobacco related diseases and cost of lost earning due to disability and early death...approach $167 billion a year in the US.

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