Statistics about smoking are frightening. In this article we will look at figures produced by the US government and the World Health Organization. Some of the facts that you will see on this page will probably astonish you.
Statistics About Smoking In The USA
In the USA, more than 20% of all deaths are smoking-related. Around 20% of American adults now smoke (21.5% of men and 17.5% of women), and of course some smokers die from other causes, so it is clear that smoking can still contribute to serious diseases even after a smoker quits. This is not a reason not to quit, however – the sooner you quit, the less likely it is that you will die of a smoking-related disease.
Smoking in the USA is on the decrease. The number of American smokers is now less than half what it was 50 years ago. Nevertheless, smoking rates in some ethnic and social groups are still very high. Over 30% of adults who identify as Native American smoke, for example. People without a college degree are much more likely to be smokers than college graduates.
Smoking in the USA is more common in some states than others. Perhaps it is not surprising that Virginia, with its tobacco-growing economy, has the highest prevalence with almost 27% of adult residents being smokers. Smoking rates are generally higher in the Midwest and Southeast than in the Western and Northeastern states. The lowest proportion of smokers is found in Utah with just 9%.
Statistics About Smoking Worldwide
While the number of smokers is falling in developed countries like the USA, Western Europe and Australia, it is still rising in many other parts of the world. Around 33% of the adult male world population smokes, and around 20% of young people aged 13-15 smoke worldwide.
The proportion of smokers is highest in the WHO’s East Asia and Pacific region, with almost 66% of adult males being current smokers.
In a survey in China, it was found that over half of the adult population still does not know that smoking causes lung cancer. 96% of people there did not know that smoking causes heart disease. Even in the UK, where smoking rates are much lower and you might expect the population to be better informed, 98% of women did not know that smoking has been found to contribute to cancer of the cervix (the neck of the womb).
On average, every cigarette smoked reduces a person’s life expectancy by 5 minutes. It also takes around 5 minutes to smoke a cigarette. So you might say that a smoker loses 10 minutes of useful life every time that they light up.
Nicotine is not the only factor in smoking-related diseases. More than 4000 different toxins or carcinogenic (cancer-causing) substances have been found in cigarette smoke.
Around 50% of people who smoke for 15 years or more will die of the effects of smoking.
These are just a few of the statistics about smoking that have been discovered by national and worldwide surveys.
Sources for these statistics about smoking:
Fact Sheet on Smoking and Tobacco Use from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA.
WHO fact sheet on smoking statistics reported at about.com.