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Background on Smoking

As awareness of the hazards of smoking have developed, tobacco has become a major concern of American people. But although the public has become aware of the deadly consequences of smoking, the number of smokers continues to rise, especially among young people. Today, at least 3.1 million adolescents smoke and 90 percent of new smokers are children and teenagers.

How deadly is smoking? Consider these statistics:

  • As the leading preventable cause of death in the United States, tobacco is responsible for 1 out of every 5 deaths each year. Each year smoking claims more than 400,000 lives in the US.
  • Almost half of all smokers between the ages of 35 and 69 die prematurely. Smokers could be losing an average of 20 to 25 years of their life.

  • Nonsmokers exposed to smoke are also at an increased risk for lung cancer. A nonsmoker married to a smoker has a 30% greater risk of developing lung cancer than the spouse of a nonsmoker.