Dangerous Effects of Tobacco Use

Tobacco use is the most preventable cause of disease, disability, and death in the United States. An estimated 443,000 people die each year while another 8.6 million live with serious illness caused by smoking and secondhand smoke. An estimated 88 million people are exposed to secondhand smoke. Because of this exposure, each year 3,000 non-smoking Americans die of lung cancer, more than 46,000 die of heart disease, and about 150,000-300,000 children younger than 18 months have lower respiratory tract infections.

Nicotine is highly addictive and once you get a taste it can become a lifelong addiction with fatal consequences.

  1. WHAT IS TOBACCO? Nicotine is the main drug in all forms of tobacco. It acts as both a stimulant and sedative and is one of the most addictive drugs in the U.S.
  2. WHAT ARE THE RISKS? Smoking harms your immune system and can affect almost every organ in your body. Chewing or sniffing tobacco can have equally harmful effects. Chemicals in tobacco such as carbon monoxide, tar, formaldehyde, cyanide, and ammonia (also known as carcinogens) can cause cancer.
  3. WHAT ARE THE LONG-TERM EFFECTS? The greatest long-term risk of smoking is cancer and lung disease. Between the years 1964-2004, cigarette smoking caused an estimated 12 million deaths. In 2010, more than 220,000 new cases of lung cancer were reported and more than 150,000 Americans died from the disease.


  • 46 million, 20%, of all adults smoke.
  • Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of preventable deaths – 443,000 people (49,000 caused by secondhand smoke), or 1 in every 5 people, die from the use of tobacco.
  • Smoking causes cancer, heart disease, stroke, and lung disease.
  • For every person that dies from smoking, 20 more people suffer with an illness from it.
  • Worldwide, smoking causes 5 million deaths.
  • Smokers die 13 to 14 years younger than nonsmokers.
  • Each day 3,450 people between the ages of 12 and 17 smoke their first cigarette.
  • Each day 850 people younger than 18 begin smoking on a daily basis.
  • Each day 2,200 adults begin smoking on a daily basis.
  • More than 80% of adult smokers began smoking before they were 18.


  • Smoking costs the U.S. billions of dollars each year: $193 billion total; $97 billion in lost productivity and $96 billion in health care expenditures.
  • Tobacco companies spend $12.4 billion on advertising and and promotional expenses. That’s $34 million per day, $42 per person in the U.S. and $275 for each adult smoker.
  • U.S. consumers spent an estimated $90 billion in a year on tobacco products.


  • More deaths are caused each year by tobacco use than by HIV, illegal drug use, alcohol use, motor vehicle injuries, suicides, and murders combined.
  • Smoking can increase the risk of coronary heart disease and stroke by 2 to 4 times.
  • It can increase the risk of men developing lung cancer by 23 times and women developing lung cancer by 13 times.
  • Smoking can also increase the risk of dying from chronic obstructive lung disease by 12 to 13 times.

If you or a loved one have experienced health problems caused by tobacco use or secondhand smoke, contact our Boca Raton product liability attorneys today to learn more about your rights.