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State-by-state smoking trends reveal Big Tobacco’s targets

Just about one of every five deaths in the U.S. is attributable to cigarette smoking. That’s more than 480,000 people who die each year, including nearly 42,000 deaths from secondhand smoke exposure, and just about 1,300 people who die every day from smoking-related causes.


Statewide tobacco control programs that are comprehensive, sustained and accountable have been shown to reduce smoking rates
Where you live matters. Some states hit harder by smoking than others

The U.S. Surgeon General estimates that if we don’t make this the generation that ends tobacco use, 5.6 million of today’s Americans younger than 18 will die prematurely from a smoking-related illness. 

Even as cigarette use drops, more than 3,200 youth and young adults try their first cigarette every day in the U.S. Another 900 become regular, daily smokers, and one-third of those young smokers will die prematurely from a smoking-related disease.

We focus on youth and young adults because almost all smokers start before they are adults. Nearly nine out of 10 adult smokers had their first cigarette before age 18, and 99 percent started before they turned 27. And the younger a person is when he or she starts smoking the  more trouble he or she has quitting.

If those are the facts, why do Americans still smoke? 

The tobacco industry spent more than $9 billion on advertising and promotion of cigarettes in the U.S. in 2012—that’s more than $25 million every day, or more than $1 million every hour. They discount their products to reduce the price to consumers. Meanwhile, smoking costs the U.S. economy more than $289 billion a year – including direct medical care for adults and lost productivity.

In order to lower smoking rates and save on health costs, it’s important for states to invest in tobacco prevention and control.  Statewide tobacco control programs that are comprehensive, sustained and accountable have been shown to reduce smoking rates, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

We strongly endorse the recommendation of the CDC that states adequately fund comprehensive tobacco control programs in order to reduce the deadly toll of tobacco.

You can learn more about what’s happening at the state level by exploring these facts and figures.