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12/01/23 Public Health Education Topic: Smoking

Smoking leads to disease and disability and harms nearly every organ of the body.

More than 16 million Americans are living with a disease caused by smoking. For every person who dies because of smoking, at least 30 people live with a serious smoking-related illness. Smoking causes cancer, heart disease, stroke, lung diseases, diabetes, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis. Smoking also increases risk for tuberculosis, certain eye diseases, and problems of the immune system, including rheumatoid arthritis.

Secondhand smoke exposure contributes to approximately 41,000 deaths among nonsmoking adults and 400 deaths in infants each year. Secondhand smoke causes stroke, lung cancer, and coronary heart disease in adults. Children who are exposed to secondhand smoke are at increased risk for sudden infant death syndrome, acute respiratory infections, middle ear disease, more severe asthma, respiratory symptoms, and slowed lung growth.

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Youth and Tobacco Use:

Youth use of tobacco products in any form is unsafe.

Preventing tobacco product use among youth is critical to reducing tobacco use among the nation’s youth.

  • Tobacco product use is started and established primarily during adolescence.

  • Nearly 9 out of 10 adults who smoke cigarettes daily first try smoking by age 18.

  • Flavorings in tobacco products can make them more appealing to youth.

    • In 2021, 80.2% of high school students and 74.6% of middle school students who used tobacco products in the past 30 days reported using a flavored tobacco product during that time.

    • In 2023, 90.3% of high school students and 87.1% of middle school students who used e-cigarettes in the past 30 days reported using a flavored e-cigarette during that time.

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Secondhand smoke is no joke!

Exposure to secondhand smoke (SHS) from burning tobacco products causes disease and premature death among people who do not smoke. There is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke; even brief exposure can cause immediate harm.

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Need support to quit smoking?

For support in quitting, including free quit coaching, a free quit plan, free educational materials, and referrals to local resources, call 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669).

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