Today in the US,
there are more former smokers than current smokers.
An estimated 36.5 million US adults currently smoke cigarettes.
Sixteen million people in the United States live with a serious disease caused by smoking.
Each day in the United States, more than 3,200 people younger than 18 years of age smoke their first cigarette.
Smoking causes one in every five deaths in the United States each year or 1,300 deaths every day.
Each day, an estimated 2,100 youth members and young adults who have been occasional smokers become daily cigarette smokers.
The average smoker in the United States spends $2,160 to $6,480 a year. Example how to calculate:
One pack of 20 cigarettes cost = $6.00 (average cost in United States)
Number of packs per day smoked x cost per pack = cost per day = $12.00
Cost per day x number of days in month = cost per month = $360.00
Cost per month x number of months of year = cost per year = $4,320.00
Fifteen billion cigarettes are smoked worldwide every day.
Smoking costs the United States more than $300 billion per year in health-care expenses and lost productivity.
Nearly 7 in 10 adult cigarette smokers want to quit completely.
Exposure to secondhand smoke causes an estimated 41,000 deaths each year among adults in the United States.
A single cigarette contains over 7,000 chemicals, 70 of which are known to cause cancer.
Smoking causes about 90% of all lung cancer deaths.
Smoking causes more deaths each year than the following causes combined:
- Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)
- Illegal drug use
- Alcohol use
- Motor vehicle injuries
- Firearm-related incidents
from Stopping Smoking
Heart rate will begin to drop back toward a normal level.
Heart rate and blood pressure will be close to normal levels again. Circulation improves, and fingers and toes tips may start to feel warm. Nicotine withdrawal symptoms usually start about 2 hours after last cigarette (intense cravings, anxiety, tension, frustration, drowsiness or trouble sleeping, and/or increased appetite).
Carbon monoxide decreases to lower levels. The amount of oxygen increases to normal levels.
Risk for coronary artery disease begins to reduce. Risk for heart attack declines.
Your nerve endings begin to regrow, and your senses of smell and taste begin to return to normal—withdrawal symptoms peak.
You can exercise with ease, and withdrawal symptoms start to subside.
Cilia begin to repair and protect lungs from infections; coughing and shortness of breath will decrease, and withdrawal symptoms go away within 9 months.
Risk for heart disease drops to half that of a smoker.
Risk for stroke is same as nonsmoker.
Risk for dying from lung cancer and other types of cancer will drop to half that of a smoker.
Risk for heart disease will be the same level as that of a nonsmoker.
from Stopping Smoking
By not smoking, you help protect family, friends, and coworkers from health risks associated with breathing secondhand smoke. These include an increased risk for heart disease and lung cancer among adults. For babies and children, risks include respiratory infections, ear infections, and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
Health benefits for people with diabetes who quit smoking begin immediately and include having better control over blood sugar levels.
If you quit smoking, you will breathe better and it will be easier to be active.
Today in the United States, there are more former smokers than current smokers. It often takes several tries to quit smoking. Using proven quitting methods, such as medications and counseling, can double your chances for success.
Lung cancer fact sheet. American Lung Association.
Smoke-free living: Benefits and milestones. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Smoking. Cleveland Clinic.
Smoking cessation. Cleveland Clinic.
What is coronary heart disease? National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.
When smokers quit: What are the benefits over time? Cancer.org.
Within 20 minutes of quitting. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Get the facts about smoking
Myth: I have smoked for 20 years and stopping now will not really help me.
Fact: No matter how long you have smoked cigarettes, everyone benefits regardless of their age. Within a year, your risk of heart attack is reduced and your lung function declines at a slower rate. If you quit smoking at the age of 30, 40, 50, or even 60, your life expectancy is increased by 10, 9, 6, and 3 years respectively.
Myth: Everyone who quits smoking gains significant amount of weight, and I am not willing to add all those extra pounds.
Fact: About 10% of men and 13% of women gain significant weight. Talk to your doctor about ways to minimize weight gain while quitting.
Myth: I tried to quit and started smoking again. Therefore, I am unable to quit smoking.
Fact: Smoking is one of the hardest addictions to give up (even harder than street drugs). Most smokers fail the first time they try to quit; and lifetime nonsmokers try several times before they are finally successful.
Myth: My smoking is only hurting myself. I have the right to decide when and where I smoke.
Fact: Secondhand smoke (also know as “ETS” or environmental tobacco smoke) is toxic. It increases risk of lung cancer by 20 to 30% and causes 34,000 premature deaths from heart disease and 8,000 deaths from stroke each year. It also increases your risk of bronchitis and lung infections and worsens the health of everyone around you.
Get the facts about smoking cessation
Myth: I tried the nicotine patch and was unsuccessful, so it seems like I just cannot quit.
Fact: Chances of quitting are better when given two types of nicotine replacement therapies (one like the patch for baseline control and one like nicotine gum, spray, or lozenges for when you get the urge to smoke). There are several oral therapies to help you stop smoking, so talk to your doctor about what is best for you.
Myth: I tried to quit so many times and haven’t been able to quit. There is no point in doing it again.
Fact: It has long been said that the average smoker takes five to seven times attempts to quit. According to a recent survey smokers can be expected to make over 30 quit attempts before they succeed! Don’t give up: It is worth the effort to keep on trying.
Myth: I am just a “social smoker.” I don’t have to worry about cigarettes causing me problems.
Fact: While light smoking may not have the same risk of developing lung cancer, social smokers’ risk of lung cancer is still three to five times greater than that in nonsmokers. A recent study demonstrated that social smokers’ risks of having high blood pressure and high cholesterol was the same as “regular smokers.” Both of these groups had higher risks of heart attack and stroke when compared with nonsmokers. Additionally, light smokers have an increased risk of pneumonia and other lung diseases and have a more difficult time recovering from a respiratory infection.
Get the facts about smoking cessation
Myth: Smoking bans in public places do nothing to decrease smoking or health. All they accomplish is making smokers feel stigmatized.
Fact: Over the years, smoking bans have proven to reduce the frequency of individuals who smoke, how much they smoke, as well as various smoking-related diseases in smokers AND nonsmokers. Several different countries have shown a reduction in cardiovascular and respiratory-related hospital admissions after public smoking bans were started.
Myth: I heard that Chantix (varenicline) causes people to commit suicide. I would rather die a “slow suicide” by continuing to smoke!
Fact: Symptoms of nicotine withdrawal include depression and anxiety, especially in those with a previous diagnosis of those illnesses. In 2009 the FDA placed a special “black box” warning on Chantix that suggested caution be used in prescribing this medicine in those with a history of depression. However, a more recent study did not show an increase in psychiatric events taking varenicline or a different smoking cessation pill compared with nicotine patches or placebo. The FDA removed the “black box” warning based on these results, but recommended that people trying to quit with varenicline be observed for psychiatric symptoms and told to discontinue the medication if symptoms develop.
Myth: I only smoke filtered cigarettes. These are safer and less likely to cause disease.
Fact: Cigarettes are designed to appeal to different customers. In 2009, the FDA banned the use of “light” or “low-tar” cigarettes because they gave smokers the idea that they were somehow less harmful, which is not true. There is no evidence that filters have any effect on the deadliness of smoking. In fact, smoking light or filtered cigarettes encourages smokers to inhale more deeply. This is believed to develop lung cancer in the more distant parts of the lung, and is more difficult to treat.
Myth: Some of the medications to help with smoking cessation are worse than smoking! If the nicotine is bad for me, then why would I want to put it into my body?
Fact: Nicotine itself is not known to be particularly bad for you. However, nicotine is the addictive part of the cigarette and what keeps you coming back for more. The primary cause of health-related problems from cigarettes is the 43 known carcinogens and 400 other toxins. Nicotine replacement is recommended for at least 3 months, but even if you quit smoking and use nicotine replacement therapy for the rest of your life, your health will be better than if you continue to smoke.
Date Last Reviewed
Allen Blaivas, DO, FCCP
Rutgers University School of Biomedical and Health Sciences
Kathleen Doo, MD
Mary Hart, MS, RRT, FCCP
Baylor Scott & White Research Institute
Jay Peters, MD, FCCP
University of Texas Health Science Center
Victor J Test, MD, FCCP
Duke University School of Medicine