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Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States. [1]

Multiple health, economic, and emotional costs arise from smoking.

Health Costs: [1, 2, 3]

  • Smoking causes more than 480,000 deaths each year in the U.S.  This is nearly one in five deaths.

  • Smoking harms nearly every organ of the body, causing many diseases and reducing the health of smokers in general.

  • If nobody smoked, 1 of every 3 cancer deaths in the U.S. would NOT happen

  • Smoking causes more deaths each year than HIV, illegal drug use, alcohol use, motor vehicle injuries, and firearm-related incidents combined.

  • On average, smokers die 10 years earlier than nonsmokers.


Economic Costs: [3]

  • Annually, smoking costs Minnesota over $3 billion in health care costs and $4 billion in lost worker productivity.

  • The tobacco industry spends more than $100 million a year to market its products in Minnesota.


Emotional Costs: [3]

  • Tobacco use leads to over 6,000 deaths in Minnesota a year. 

  • In Minnesota, 574,000 moms, dads, sons, daughters, grandparents, brothers, sisters, aunts and uncles continue to smoke.

  • Children of smokers are almost 2x as likely to smoke as children of nonsmokers.

Secondhand Smoke: [1]

  • Secondhand smoke is smoke from burning tobacco products, such as cigarettes, cigars, or pipes

  • When a smoker lights a cigarette, more than 7,000 chemicals are released into the air, including hundreds that are toxic and about 70 known cancer-causing poisons. 

  • In children, secondhand smoke causes the following:

    • Ear infections

    • More frequent and severe asthma attacks

    • Respiratory symptoms (e.g., coughing, sneezing, shortness of breath)

    • Respiratory infections (bronchitis and pneumonia)

    • A greater risk for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)

  • In adults who have never smoked, secondhand smoke can cause:

    • Heart disease

    • Lung cancer

    • Stroke

  • No level of secondhand smoke exposure is safe.

What You Can Do: [1]


You can protect yourself and your family from secondhand smoke by: 

  • Quitting smoking if you are not already a nonsmoker

  • Not allowing anyone to smoke anywhere in or near your home

  • Not allowing anyone to smoke in your car, even with the windows down

  • Making sure your children's day care center and schools are tobacco-free

  • Seeking out restaurants and other places that do not allow smoking (if your state still allows smoking in public areas)

  • Teaching your children to stay away from secondhand smoke

  • Being a good role model by not smoking or using any other type of tobacco

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