State of Health: Smoking in the U.S.

Though smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States, claiming nearly 450,000 lives annually, smokers are not deterred from lighting up. In fact, 43.8 million, or 19%, of Americans smoke, ignoring that tobacco smoke contains 7,000 chemicals and compounds, including hundreds that are toxic and at least 69 that are known to cause cancer! Smoking can also cause heart disease, pulmonary disease, infertility and impotence.

The addiction doesn’t just impact smokers, however. It affects those around them as well, not only from a health perspective but from a financial one too. For example, from 2000 to 2004, the United States spent $96 billion on tobacco-related healthcare when that money could have been spent on other programs and services like transportation, education, public safety or rural development. The next highest country, France, only spent $16.6 billion on tobacco-related health care for the same time period. Is this the best use of our money?

Smoking is an obvious health hazard for smokers and those who inhale secondhand smoke, but it is also a societal hazard, impacting many aspects of our lives. Our costs are much higher than those directly attributed to smoking. Whether you smoke or not, are you willing to pay the price?

Take a look at the visual below to learn more about the grim statistics and how to become a nurse, one of many professions that can enable you to educate others on the risks of smoking.

For a list of sources, please see the infographic.

State of Health: Smoking in the U.S.
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