Statistics on Smoking and Smoking Related Diseases

  • Cigarette smoking remains the leading preventable cause of death in the United States, accounting for approximately 1 of every 5 deaths (438,000 people) each year.

  • Approximately 20.9% of all American adults (45.1 million people) smoke cigarettes.1

  • A recent study issued by the CDC indicates that among adult smokers the cessation effort has stalled, with no observed change between 2004 and 2005. 2

  • More than 126 million nonsmoking Americans continue to be exposed to secondhand smoke. 1

  • Along with the significant health risks due to smoking, the financial costs of tobacco-related deaths and diseases are enormous. Related costs are an estimated $100 billion dollars per year. 3

  • Although the number of high school seniors who smoke has reduced (from 36.5 percent in 1997 to 24.4 percent in 2003), the rate of decline has slowed in recent years. 4

  • Smoking caused an estimated total of 263,600 deaths in males and 176,500 deaths in females (total 440,100) in the United States each year from 1995 to1999.

  • For men aged 35 years and older, annual smoking-attributable deaths were 105,700 for cancers, 87,600 for cardiovascular diseases (CVDs), and 53,700 for respiratory diseases.

  • For women aged 35 years and older, the annual SAM was 53,900 for cancers, 55,000 for CVDs, and 44,300 for respiratory diseases.

  • Among adults, the most smoking attributable deaths were from lung cancer (124,800), ischemic heart disease (IHD) (82,000), and chronic airway obstruction (64,700).

  • Smoking during pregnancy was estimated to result in 560 deaths in infant boys and 410 deaths in infant girls annually.

  • Excluding adult deaths from secondhand smoke, the estimated SAM (Smoking Attributable Mortality) was responsible for a total annual YPLL (Years of Potential Life Lost) of 3,319,000 for males and 2,152,600 for females.4

Other Resources on African Americans and Smoking

CDC’s Smoking and Tobacco Use
American Lung Association


1. Centers for Disease Control, “Adult Cigarette Smoking in the US: Current Estimates,” November, 2006.

2. Centers for Disease Control, “Decline in Adult Smoking Rates Stalls: Millions of Nonsmoking Americans Remain Exposed to Secondhand Smoke.” October, 2006.

3. BR Flay, JK Ockene, and IB Tager, “Smoking: Epidemiology, Cessation, and Prevention, Task Force on Research and Education for the Prevention and Control of Respiratory Diseases,” Chest, Sept. 1992; 102: 277 - 301.

4. The Health Consequences of Smoking: A Report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta, Georgia: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health, 2004.