Smoking Facts

Children and Smoking

  • 90 percent of smokers start by age 18.
  • Every day in the United States, 4,000 youths smoke their first cigarette. Of these, 1,000 become daily smokers.
  • Nearly 20 percent of high school students smoke.
  • Around 5 percent of all middle school students smoke.
  • 50 percent of those who smoke as teens end up smoking for at least 15 years.
  • Teen smokers become addicted faster than adults.
  • A third of smokers who begin in high school will die of tobacco-related causes.


Health Risks of Smoking

  • Smoking is the leading cause of preventable deaths. In the U.S. alone, cigarette smoking causes the deaths of 443,000 people each year, which is more than the combined toll from alcohol, car accidents, fires, suicide, AIDS, homicide, and illegal drugs.
  • Worldwide, tobacco use causes 5 million deaths a year. Every 8 seconds, someone dies from tobacco use.
  • The life expectancy of smokers is 13 to 14 years less than for nonsmokers.
  • Smoking causes 1/3 of all deaths from cancer.
  • Cigarette smoke contains nearly 5,000 chemicals. 69 of those chemicals cause cancer.

Smoking and the Media

  • Tobacco companies are the major advertisers in many countries.
  • Research shows teens are influenced by tobacco advertising.
  • More than half of smoking advertisements are found on t‐shirts, lighters, and other promotional items, not on TV or in print advertisements.
  • Ads in gas stations and other stores that sell cigarettes are targeted at younger smokers.
  • The media attempts to make smoking look glamorous, masculine, and cool.
  • The tobacco industry spends over $1 billion a year on advertising aimed at enticing teens to smoke.


Reasons to Quit Smoking

  • Within 20 minutes after smoking your last cigarette, blood pressure decreases.
  • Within 10 hours, carbon monoxide in the blood drops and is replaced with healthy oxygen.
  • Within 3 months, lung function improves up to 30%.
  • Within 1 year, risk of heart attack is cut in half.
  • Within 5 years, risk of cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, and bladder is cut in half. Cervical cancer risk falls to that of a nonsmoker. Stroke risk falls to that of a nonsmoker after 2-5 years.
  • Within 10 years, your risk of dying from lung cancer will be half that of a smoker.
  • Within 15 years, the risk of heart disease and heart attack is the same as that of a nonsmoker.


Educators Package