Background On the Problem Of Smoking
Cigarette smoking has been identified as the most important source of preventable morbidity and premature mortality worldwide. Smoking is responsible for approximately one in five deaths in the United States. From 1995 to 1999, smoking killed over 440,000 people in the United States each year. This includes an estimated 264,087 male and 178,311 female deaths annually. Among adults, most smoking attributable deaths were from lung cancer (124,813), coronary heart disease (81,976) and chronic airway obstruction (64,735).
Excluding adult deaths from exposure to secondhand smoke, adult males and females lost an average of 13.2 and 14.5 years of life respectively, due to smoking. If current tobacco use patterns persist in the United States, an estimated 6.4 million children (8,830 per 100,000) will die prematurely from a smoking-related disease. Smoking costs the economy over $150 billion in annual health care costs and lost productivity, including $81.9 billion in mortality-related productivity losses and $75.5 billion in excess medical expenditures. It is directly responsible for 87 percent of lung cancer cases and causes most cases of emphysema and chronic bronchitis.
Cardiovascular disease is the primary cause of death in the United States. It is estimated that as many as 30% of deaths from cardiovascular disease are a result of tobacco use. In 2001, approximately 65,000 women died of lung cancer. 85,000 men die each year from smoking related cancers of the trachea, lung and bronchus. These statistics are not encouraging, and indicate that smoking has a far more negative impact on the health of Americans and the strength of our economy than most people are aware of. These statistics alone should make people stop smoking, but unfortunately many people relapse back into the habit.
In 2000, more than 70% of smokers wanted to quit, and 41% tried for at least a day. Many smokers report making 8-11 attempts before quitting for good. With a large majority of smokers desiring to quit, it is imperative that they are given the tools and support they need to increase their chances of being successful.