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The topic of Tobacco includes current use of tobacco products, initiation, cessation, secondhand smoke, and tobacco-related policy. Tobacco use must be examined from all angles, because it is the single most preventable cause of death and disease in the United States.1

1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Annual smoking-attributable mortality, years of potential life lost, and economic costs-United States, 1995-1999. MMWR. 2002;51(14):300-3, downloaded on 8/6/2014 from
Tobacco use accounts for one of every five deaths in the United States, approximately 480,000 people each year. Furthermore, for each person who dies from tobacco use, another 33 will suffer from a tobacco-related illness. Tobacco use has been linked to diseases in nearly every organ. The national economic cost in medical expenses and lost productivity is over $289 billion annually.2

2. The Health Consequences of Smoking-50 Years of Progress: A Report of the Surgeon General. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2014, downloaded on 8/6/2014 from
After decades of study, much is known about tobacco use in the United States:
  • In 2017, 14.0% of adults (34.3 million people) were current cigarette smokers: 15.8% of men and 12.2% of women.3
  • Tobacco product use is started and established primarily during adolescence.4
    • Each day, about 2,000 people younger than 18 years smoke their first cigarette.
    • Each day, over 300 people younger than 18 years become daily cigarette smokers.
  • In 2018, about 7 of every 100 middle school students (7.2%) and about 27 of every 100 high school students (27.1%) reported current use of a tobacco product.4
  • In 2013, nearly 18 of every 100 middle school students (17.7%) and nearly half (46.0%) of high school students said they had ever tried a tobacco product.4
  • Quitting tobacco use greatly decreases a person's risk for many negative health outcomes, some within a very short time after stopping.
  • There is no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke; even brief exposure can be damaging to health.
  • Smoke-free laws are an effective approach to reduce exposure to secondhand smoke and to reduce the prevalence of tobacco use.5

3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Fast Facts. Smoking and Tobacco Use. Accessed 2/22/2019 at
4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Youth and Tobacco Use. Accessed 2/22/2019 at
5. Hopkins DP, Razi S, Leeks KD, et al. Task force on community preventive services: Smoke-free policies to reduce tobacco use: A systematic review. Am J Prev Med. 2010;38(2 Suppl):S275-89, downloaded on 8/6/2014 from
Everyone is susceptible to the negative consequences of tobacco use. However, some disparities exist. Tobacco use is more prevalent among:6
  • Men
  • Persons aged 45-64 years
  • Non-Hispanics
  • Persons with low household income
  • Persons with lower education level
  • Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) persons

6. Agaku IT, King BA, Husten CG, et al. Tobacco product use among adults - United States, 2012-2013. MMWR. 2014;63(25):542-7, downloaded on 8/6/2014 from
The most effective way to reduce the risk of tobacco-related illness and death is to avoid using tobacco products. However, secondhand smoke still increases the risk of disease. Policies that ban smoking indoors, in public locations, and in vehicles with children can help reduce the risk to everyone.
Tobacco use is tracked using a range of surveys. Some examples include:
  • National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH)
  • National Health Interview Survey (NHIS)
  • National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES)
  • Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBS)
  • Monitoring the Future (MTF)
  • State Tobacco Activities Tracking and Evaluation System (STATE)

For more information on tracking tobacco use health objectives, please visit the Healthy People 2020 Tobacco Use objectives page.

Current Cigarette Smoking - Adults (BRFSS)

Tobacco - Adolescents

Smoking Cessation Attempt - Adults (BRFSS)

E-Cigarette Use - Adults (BRFSS)

E-Cigarette/Vape Use - Adolescents

Smokeless Tobacco Use - Adults (BRFSS)

Anyone Smoked in Your Home Past 30 Days - Adults (BRFSS)

Smoking and Pregnancy (PRAMS)

The information provided above is from the Utah Department of Health and Human Services IBIS-PH web site ( The information published on this website may be reproduced without permission. Please use the following citation: " Retrieved Wed, 24 July 2024 11:22:30 from Utah Department of Health and Human Services, Indicator-Based Information System for Public Health Web site: ".

Content updated: Wed, 26 Jun 2024 10:27:17 MDT