- Smoking kills more than 5 million people a year worldwide, accounting for 1 out of every 10 adult deaths, according to the World Health Organization.
- Up to half of all current smokers will die from a tobacco-related disease.
- Fewer teens are smoking now than in the late 1990s, but the decrease in teen smoking rates has been slower in recent years. Today, 46% of high school students have ever smoked cigarettes, down from 70% in 1991. The number of frequent smokers (20 or more cigarettes a month) dropped from about 13% in 1991 to 7% in 2009.
- People who smoke pipes or cigars are at increased risk for lung damage and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), even if they never smoked cigarettes.
- Combining a nicotine patch with a nicotine lozenge is most effective at helping smokers quit, according to researchers who compared six different quit smoking therapies.
- Having depression increases the likelihood that someone will smoke, and decreases their likelihood of quitting. Forty-three percent of adults with depression are current smokers, compared to only 22% of those without depression. The more severe their depression, the more likely people are to smoke.
- Smoking is the second leading risk factor for age-related macular degeneration (AMD), after age. Smokers have 11% higher rates of AMD than nonsmokers of the same age.
- In women who are worried about gaining weight after they quit smoking, combining behavioral therapy for smoking-related weight concerns with the antidepressant bupropion can help them stop smoking for longer.
Other Health Effects of Smoking:
- Up to 90% of lung cancer deaths are attributed to smoking.
- Smoking greatly increases a person's risk of heart attacks and strokes.
- COPD is directly related to smoking.
- Smoking greatly increases the smoker's risk of oral and esophageal cancers.
- Women who smoke tend to start menopause at an earlier age than nonsmokers, perhaps because toxins in cigarette smoke damage eggs.
- Women who smoke have a greater risk for ectopic pregnancy and miscarriage.
- Smoking clearly increases the risk of colorectal cancer and aggressive colon polyps, which are considered precursors to colon cancer.
- The following age-related conditions occur at higher rates in smokers than nonsmokers:
- AMD, a leading cause of blindness in older people
- Hearing loss
Review Date: 09/08/2010
Reviewed By: Reviewed by: Harvey Simon, MD, Editor-in-Chief, Associate Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School; Physician, Massachusetts General Hospital. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.