The impact of tobacco on our health and our wallets is one of great magnitude. These costs reach our families, communities, businesses and the government. Today, March 20, 2013, is the 18th annual National Kick Butts day, a day when the youth and youth leaders are encouraged to speak out and bring attention to the dangers of tobacco use in their communities. In honor of National Kick Butts day and the children in your families and communities, we’d like to share a few facts about tobacco.
In the United States:
• Tobacco use is the number one cause of preventable death, killing around 443,000 Americans every year, including nearly 50,000 people due to secondhand smoke.
• Nearly 90% of smokers start smoking as teens or younger.
• Around 4,000 kids try their first cigarette each day.
• Tobacco use costs us $96 billion annually in medical bills.
Across the world:
• Tobacco use killed 100 million people in the 20th century.
• One in 10 deaths among adults is related to tobacco.
• Secondhand smoke kills more than 600,000 people each year, including 165,000 children.
• Tobacco use costs an estimated $500 billion annually in health care expenditures, productivity losses, fire damage and other costs.
Recent movements to curb tobacco use and protect others from secondhand smoke include higher tobacco taxes, laws for smoke-free public areas and workplaces, anti-tobacco advertising campaigns and restrictions on the way tobacco products are marketed, sold and even made. If you're interested, check out our post from January discussing how smoke-free workplace laws have reduced heart attacks rates.
National Kick Butts Day is organized by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids and sponsored by the United Health Foundation.