Smoking Statistics - Featured Image

31 Scary Smoking Statistics & Facts to Be Aware of in 2019

by Sanela Puac

Smoking kills; smoking causes 92% of oral cancers; smoking causes fatal lung disease; smoking seriously harms you and others around you. These are only some of the messages you may read on cigarette packaging, often followed by brutal images. Though aimed at arousing negative emotions towards this detrimental habit, and raising awareness concerning the dangers of smoking, these labels do not seem to do much about changing smokers’ attitudes towards their health.

They simply might not suffice, since it is not easy to change addictive behavioral patterns. This is why we conducted thorough research and presented some alarming smoking statistics and facts to help you free yourself of this deadly habit.

An Overview of the Key Smoking Facts & Statistics

  • Nearly 1 billion people around the globe smoke on a daily basis.
  • Worldwide, 40% of men are smokers, compared to only 9% of women.
  • 47 million US adults consume tobacco.
  • Tobacco smoke contains nearly 70 cancerous chemicals.
  • Cigarettes cause 480,000 deaths per year in the US alone.
  • Second-hand smokers aren’t safe—they make up 0.8% of tobacco deaths per year.
  • 400,000 US babies per year suffer the consequences of intrauterine smoke exposure.
  • More than half of tobacco smoke in US young adults is inhaled from hookahs.
  • COPD is caused by smoking in 80% of cases.
  • Marijuana smoke is as dangerous, and what is more, it can lower your IQ.

Smoking Statistics Worldwide

Smoking Statistics - Worldwide

1. Nearly 1 billion people around the globe smoke on a daily basis.

(WHO)

In spite of anti-smoking campaigns around the world, the numbers are still devastating. According to the World Health Organization, a billion people are active smokers. And how many people die from smoking? A staggering 8 million people die each year as a result of tobacco smoking. The research has also shown that in one-half of active smokers, death is caused by smoking-related health issues.

2. Cigarettes cause 480,000 deaths per year in the US alone.

(Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

Unfortunately, the US statistics about smoking are still tragic. Admittedly, some of the recent CDC studies show a significant decline of 67% in tobacco use among adult Americans over the last 54 years. However, tobacco smoke-caused deaths are still very common and 47 million people in the US still consume tobacco (including tobacco in products other than cigarettes, such as cigarillos and hookahs). In 2019, the tobacco purchase age has been raised in 17 states of America, which will hopefully improve the statistics.

3. Teen smoking statistics indicate that 2,500 new US minors try cigarettes every day.

(Lung)

Whether voluntarily, or as a result of peer pressure, yet some children begin to smoke very early, even during puberty. Apart from obviously higher susceptibility to respiratory infections and various forms of tobacco-induced cancer, what is worth mentioning is that children who start smoking early in their lives have more difficulties when trying to quit smoking during adulthood.

4. Smoking statistics from 2018 report 7.2 million smokers in the UK.

(Office for National Statistics)

Reportedly, nearly 14.7% of adult UK citizens have been estimated to smoke cigarettes. Set side by side with 2011 results, these relatively recent Annual Population Survey results seem even encouraging, indicating that UK smoking statistics have improved by 5%. That is, it seems that 360,000 of UK citizens quit smoking during the seven-year period.

5. More than half of the tobacco smoke inhaled by young adults aged 18–30 is inhaled through hookahs.

(Science Daily)

Based on 3,245 participants of the 2018 study from the University of Pittsburgh, 54% of the tobacco smoke among US young adults comes from pipes, which isn’t unexpected, since flavored smoke is usually found more attractive and social gatherings featuring hookahs are nowadays quite popularized. Even non-smokers find it fun and relaxing. Still, it is one of the well-known facts about smoking that there is no such thing as a secure way to consume tobacco, and each try can lead to cigarette addiction.

Smoking Addiction Rates Among Particular Social Groups

Smoking Statistics - Addiction

6. Smoking is 2–3 times more frequent among psychiatric patients.

(Lung)

Not surprisingly, nicotine addiction rates are higher among individuals with mental health issues. According to studies, they’re even twice higher than in mentally healthy individuals. For instance, patients with depression show 59% higher smoking rates than people without a mental illness history. The percentage of smokers is even higher in patients with psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia. On the other hand, a staggering fact is that as much as half of deaths among hospitalized patients with severe mental disorders are related to smoking.

7. Lower incomes = higher cigarette expenses?

(Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

As per CDC smoking statistics, populations living in poverty tend to consume more tobacco than those of a more favorable social status. Namely, people with low incomes smoke twice as long in comparison to the duration of smoking in years among people with higher incomes. Also, smokers tend to develop financial habits that are manipulated by their tobacco cravings, often prioritized over medication, food, and other basic human needs, which further lowers their quality of life. At the same time, cigarette prices tend to be much higher in developed countries.

8. Tobacco use is 2.5 times greater in UK manual laborers than professionals.

(Office for National Statistics)

The socio-economic circumstances of smokers, as we’ve already stated, are quite indicative of the frequency of tobacco use. Other than incomes, another particular category that is suggestive in terms of smoking is a person’s profession. We’ve done some research on smoking statistics throughout various professions and found out the following: over 25% of routine and manual workers (such as craftsmen, truck drivers, hotel and bar staff, etc.) smoke, which is a higher prevalence in comparison to around 10% of non-manual workers (architects, lawyers, teachers etc.) that smoke. 

On Gender and Tobacco

Smoking Statistics - Woman

9. Worldwide, 40% of men are smokers, compared to only 9% of women.

(WHO)

As suggested by WHO’s tobacco facts, only 9% of women smoke, compared to a 4 times higher rate of 40% among men. Nevertheless, according to surveyed information from around 150 countries, there is a growth in the number of female smokers.

Why do people smoke cigarettes? There is a gender discrepancy here too, seeing as females and males mostly start smoking for different reasons. Taking into account mass media impact on female body image, it is not unusual that WHO assumes that perhaps females start smoking because they believe it is a good way to control food intake and body weight. 

10. Some tobacco marketing campaigns are explicitly targeted at women, too.

(WHO)

The tobacco industry takes advantage of feminine stereotypes, in order to promote the imposed beauty standards, by using images suggesting there’s a connection between cigarette smoking and grace, elegance, beauty. Bearing in mind the statistics, which shows that female smokers are still much fewer in number, this strategy is actually an expected move – the tobacco industry simply needs more consumers and has found a sly method to achieve its goal.

11. By 2030, smoking death statistics could show 2,500,000 of female deaths per year.

(WHO)

Compared to the current situation (1,500,000 women dying from tobacco each year), in 10 years’ time, female mortality from cigarettes could mark a disastrous rise of another 1,000,000. As per reports, the vast majority of women who die as a result of cigarette consumption come from underdeveloped countries.

12. Statistics on smoking indicate that the smoking rate is 4.4% higher in women who identify as queer, compared to those identifying as heterosexual.

(Lung)

As suggested by the 2016 US study, 17.9% of lesbian and bisexual women are smokers, compared to 13.5% of heterosexual smokers. A possible rationale behind these statistics might be the distress (which is one of the main triggers for cigarette consumption) caused by social stigma and overall discrimination experienced by queer individuals.

Breaking Misconceptions 

Smoking Statistics - Quitting

13. Second-hand smoking statistics are scarier than you might think.

(American Cancer Society) (Lung)

If you are the one never hesitating to express annoyance when around smokers, some might perceive it as an overreaction, but the harmful effects of environmental cigarette smoke (commonly known as second-hand smoke) are not a myth. Moreover, involuntary smokers are almost as endangered as active smokers. Their nasal sinuses, throat, voice box, lungs, bladder, etc. all might get significantly affected by second-hand smoke.

How many chemicals are in a cigarette? Over 7,000 chemicals have been identified in a cigarette, 70 of which are known to cause tumorous lesions. 41,000 second-hand smokers are reported to die each year, according to Lung.org. However, you can at least prevent second-hand smoke exposure by making your home smoke-free and opting for public places that prohibit smoking. 

14. There is no safe level of tobacco use.

(National Cancer Institute)

According to 2016 study by the National Cancer Institute, the prognosis for people who smoked less than one cigarette per day during lifetime is not significantly better at all (64% higher risk of shortened lifespan than in those who never smoked) in comparison to those who smoked 10 cigarettes per day (who are at 87% higher risk). In other words – contrary to common misconception, there is no such thing as “smoking safely” or “moderately.”

15. Death by cigarette consumption is real. Rolling your own tobacco isn’t safe either.

(US Food and Drug Administration)

One of the most common erroneous beliefs is that smoking the so-called “rollies” brings about less harm than smoking cigarettes. It is probably based upon the assumption that the tobacco you roll by yourself doesn’t contain additives such as the one factory-made. But, not many smokers know that harmful chemicals come from dried tobacco leaves, rather than from additives since the gases released during drying up the very tobacco leaves are actually the most toxic component of cigarettes.

16. Despite aggressive campaigns, more than 1 in 10 people are completely unaware of the harmful effects of cigarette smoking.

(Tobacco Control)

While the majority of the Australian population seems to be aware that smoking has some harmful effects (according to recent anti-smoking campaign evaluation – 88% of examinees), there is more to this awareness. There are actually several levels of being aware of smoking hazards. Apart from acknowledging the latest smoking facts and statistics, you also must be aware of the diseases either directly or indirectly caused by smoking.

Moreover, what you must take seriously is the likelihood and severity of those diseases. The highest level of awareness is, of course, undertaking some measures to protect yourself and those around you from falling ill. However, 54% of examinees mentioned only lung cancer, when asked about illnesses caused by cigarettes. In reality, smoking is a key risk factor for many types of cancer, such as bladder cancer. Also, 28% of examinees find it more likely to die in a car accident than from consuming cigarettes, which is very untrue.

Health Consequences of Smoking

Smoking Statistics - Health Effects

17. Smoking a pack of cigarettes a day more than doubles your risk of heart attack compared to nonsmokers.

(Cleveland Clinic)

According to smoking and heart disease statistics, there is a direct correlation between how much and how long you’ve been smoking and your risk for developing cardiovascular diseases. However, this is not to say that “moderate” smoking isn’t dangerous. Tobacco smoke is a major cause of atherosclerosis which damages your blood vessels, leading to many of the world’s deadliest chronic diseases such as heart disease and stroke. It’s good to know that quitting smoking and early treatment can prevent up to 75% of recurrent vascular events

18. Smoking affects your ability to work out.

(Smoke Free)

It is a fact that exercising regularly is beneficial for your health and if you are a smoker, you might think that a regular workout could compensate for all the harm you cause yourself by smoking. Smoking narrows your arteries and therefore decreases blood supply to your organs, including heart and muscles. As a result, your body won’t work out nearly as properly as you need it to.

19. Female smokers experience reproductive health problems.

(US Food & Drug Administration)

Apart from increasing the risk for ovarian and cervical cancer, smoking can pose additional problems to women’s health, especially smoking during pregnancy – statistics confirm fertility problems, increased ectopic pregnancy risk, or even miscarriage as a result of the deadly habit. Furthermore, a newborn can suffer enormous consequences, such as underdevelopment. The research suggests that every year 400,000 babies in the US are exposed to tobacco toxins inside the uterus.

20. Male smokers are likely to suffer from erectile dysfunction.

(Healthline)

Smoking affects male reproductive function in the same way it affects the ability to work out – by damaging the blood vessels supplying the organs with blood. In other words, erectile dysfunction may occur due to cigarette chemicals damaging the blood vessels.

21. You are 2 times more likely to die if you’re a smoker who happens to have a stroke.

(American Stroke Association)

As you’re already familiar with, chemicals in cigarettes (7,000 of them), such as carbon monoxide, cyanide, and arsenic are absorbed into your blood as you smoke, directly affecting your cholesterol levels, increasing LDL, accelerating your heartbeat, raising blood pressure, thickening your platelets (which leads to blood clots formation), etc.

Not only can these factors double your chances to die of a stroke if it occurs to you, but they also have a direct impact on stroke incidence. So, you might want to think again when lighting up your next cigarette. Or, at least to inform yourself on how to recognize the warning signs of a stroke, just in case.

22. Smoking and lung cancer statistics from 2019 indicate that smokers get a specific form of lung cancer.

(Very Well Health)

While it is true that 65% of lung cancers occur in either smokers or former smokers, non-smokers are far from being safe from getting ill. It’s just that the types of cancer that affect non-smokers are different. Cancers that mostly affect smokers are usually squamous-cell lung cancers (growing near airways, and thus causing symptoms relatively early), while non-smokers are usually affected by adenocarcinomas (which usually stay asymptomatic for quite a long time).

23. Smoking can disrupt your sleep.

(Very Well Health)

As explained by Very Well Health, besides the obvious, well-known effects of smoking that manifest during sleep, such as heavy breathing, snoring, or even sleep apnea (about 80% of people with this condition aren’t aware of the problem), there are some consequences of smoking not really evidently linked to it. In particular, smoking also has something to do with your sleeping patterns. A recent study has found that smokers have difficulties falling asleep and/or staying sound asleep, while those who never smoked rarely complain about insomnia.

24. There are also non-tobacco causes of lung cancer.

(Very Well Health)

Although smoking and cancer statistics are always mentioned together, there’s a variety of other environmental factors that can be responsible for getting sick, such as genetics, exposure to radon gas or asbestos, air pollution, even wood smoke. While not all of these factors are easy to avoid, making an effort over quitting smoking is up to you.

25. 80% of COPD cases are caused by smoking.

(Lung)

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is an inflammatory lung disease that causes severe difficulty in breathing. Since it causes chronic problems such as shortness of breath, it makes everyday activities such as going for a walk or climbing the stairs challenging. Although treatable, without quitting smoking, it is hard to achieve symptom control, which may result in a fatal outcome.

26. Smoking ruins your outer beauty.

(Smoke Free)

Smoking effects inside our bodies are disastrous, but they manifest on the outside, too. For example, it is likely to turn your skin grayish and wrinkled, color your teeth and fingers yellow, and even thin your hair. That is right – a recent study from Taiwan claims that men who smoke are 50% more likely to lose their hair early than those who never smoked.

Is Smoking Marijuana Any Less Dangerous?

Smoking Statistics - Marijuana

27. The risks of smoking marijuana have serious long-term consequences.

(National Institute on Drug Abuse)

The benefits of smoking marijuana have been subject to dispute for decades. Recently, there have been many arguments for legalization and a number of pros and cons have been discussed. There have been records of some marijuana benefits, such as chronic pain relief and nausea relief in chemo patients.

However, while it might provide slight alleviation of your symptoms, your therapy should never be directed to symptoms exclusively, and it is of utmost importance that you always consult your physician about the effects of smoking marijuana, who will determine your diagnosis, and therefore the adequate therapy.

28. Marijuana is the second most frequently found substance in the bodies of car accident victims.

(NBC)

Some of the recent police reports from US areas where marijuana is legal (such as Illinois, Colorado, Maine, Nevada) indicate that the very legalization of marijuana might be responsible for the sharp rise in car accident incidence. Namely, the number of crashes rose by roughly 6%, compared to neighbor-states where marijuana is still banned from free use.

However, it is very difficult determining for certain whether a driver has been under the influence of marijuana since THC remains in the blood even weeks after sobering up. Therefore, it is yet to be decided how to address the problem.

29. Marijuana smoking increases psychosis risk.

(Live Science)

Results of a 2019 analysis based on over 2100 European examinees (900 of whom have psychoses) suggests that those who used marijuana on daily bases were more likely to experience psychotic episode and afterwards get a diagnosis. This might be one of the most terrifying marijuana effects and perhaps the most persuasive motive to quit smoking weed once and for all.

30. Long-term marijuana use might lower your IQ.

(Child Mind)

A study conducted on 1000 examinees from New Zealand suggests that there has been an 8 IQ points decline in adults who smoked marijuana daily from their teenage years. Namely, as teenagers, they took IQ tests and retook them in their late thirties. In the meantime, they smoked weed on a daily basis. The findings detected an average of 8 IQ points decline. This can be clarified by the fact that teenage bodies are still in the developing phase, which also concerns their brain, which is still prone to various alterations, including those induced by marijuana.

31. Smoking marijuana while pregnant causes problems with child development.

(Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

The studies suggest that marijuana has similar effects on fetus development as tobacco. The reason is that marijuana smoke contains many of the chemicals from tobacco smoke. Low birth weight and attention problems during development that might persist even as your child grows older are only some of the issues that may occur.

Women should be especially aware of the risks of smoking marijuana while breastfeeding. Namely, since THC is stored in fat and released gradually, there are chances that your baby is exposed to it by breastfeeding. All things considered, the safest decision a woman can opt for is not to smoke marijuana, at least during pregnancy.

Conclusion 

Not everyone is fully aware of each particular risk that smoking poses to their health, or what percentage of smokers die from smoking. Among certain social groups, smoking awareness is still on the level of merely being familiar with the fact that smoking carries certain risks. Nevertheless, the smoking statistics and facts we’ve gathered have proven that this isn’t nearly enough and hopefully provided you with some new pieces of information that will persuade you into reconsidering your habits.

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