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How common is smoking?

Patricia Feito, MD
Family Medicine
Smoking is very common. Tobacco use is still the single-largest preventable cause of disease and premature death in the United States. Studies after studies for decades have chronicled nicotine’s adverse affects on the body. Yet, about 42 million Americans (just under one in every five adults) still smoke cigarettes. In addition, there are more than 13 million cigar smokers in the U.S., and about 2.3 million people who smoke tobacco in pipes.

Currently, one in five deaths in the U.S. can be attributed to cigarette smoking, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Smoking causes about 90% of male and 80% of female lung cancer deaths. Smoking is also a major risk factor for heart disease. Cigarette smokers are two to five times more likely to develop heart disease than nonsmokers.
Howard J. Shaffer, PhD
Addiction Medicine
If you smoke, you may find yourself in a dwindling minority. What used to be a common and accepted habit is now prohibited in most workplaces, restaurants, and public spaces. You might find yourself hiding your habit from co-workers and family members, standing in the rain to have a smoke outside work, or driving in the car just to have a cigarette. In 2009, about 23% of men and 18% of women smoked—a reduction of nearly 50% since the mid-1960s, when cigarette use peaked in the United States.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.