Tobacco use is the single most preventable cause of disease, disability, and death in the United States, yet more deaths are caused each year by tobacco use than from HIV, illegal drug use, alcohol use, motor vehicle injuries, suicides, and murders combined. Tobacco use causes many different cancers as well as chronic lung diseases, such as emphysema and bronchitis, and heart disease. Smoking can lead to a shorter life; the life expectancy for smokers is at least 10 years shorter than for nonsmokers.

  • Secondhand smoke can trigger an asthma attack in a child who previously had not exhibited symptoms of asthma. Children with asthma who are around secondhand smoke have more severe and frequent asthma attacks.

  • Infants and children younger than 6 who are regularly exposed to secondhand smoke are at increased risk of lower respiratory tract infections, such as pneumonia and bronchitis.

  • Children who regularly breathe secondhand smoke are at increased risk for middle ear infections.

  • Infants who are exposed to secondhand smoke after birth are at greater risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

  • The risk of developing lung cancer is approximately 23 times higher among men who smoke and 13 times higher among women who smoke compared with people who have never smoked. Smoking causes an estimated 90% of all lung cancer deaths in men and 80% of all lung cancer deaths in women.

  • Men and women who smoke are 2 to 4 times more likely to develop coronary heart disease than people who do not smoke.

  • People who are exposed to secondhand smoke increase their heart disease risk by 25% to 30% and their lung cancer risk by 20% to 30%.

  • Smoking during pregnancy causes health problems for both women and infants, including pregnancy complications, premature birth, low birth weight, stillbirth, and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Approximately 1 in 8 women in the United States smoke during pregnancy.

  • People who smoke die approximately 13 to 14 years earlier than people who do not smoke.13