Tobacco products continue to be responsible for an unacceptable level of death, illness and suffering throughout the world, and California is no exception. It may surprise you how many people die each year from secondhand smoke. In fact, nearly 40,000 Californians die every year from tobacco-related diseases.1 2Although cigarette smoking continues to be the primary way that people consume tobacco, and second hand smoke continues to be a risk factor for diseases such as cancer, consumption of other tobacco products also puts the public’s health at risk.
The use of cigarettes as the primary way of consuming tobacco did not become popular until the early 1900s. Cigarette smoking peaked in 1965 in the United States, when about 50 percent of men and 33 percent of women smoked. Even though smoking rates have drastically gone down in the last few decades, smoking still kills more people than HIV, illegal drugs, alcohol, motor-vehicle injuries, suicides and murders combined.3 4 Second hand smoke can cause preventable illnesses as well, so when considering how many people die from smoking each year, secondhand smoke related illnesses and deaths are important to consider.
Smoking harms nearly every organ in the body and increases the risk of:5 6
- Coronary heart disease by two to four times.
- Stroke by two to four times.
- Lung cancer in men by 23 times.
- Lung cancer in women by 13 times.
- Chronic obstructive lung diseases (chronic bronchitis and emphysema) by 12 to 13 times.
Cigarette smokers are 20x more likely to develop lung cancer than nonsmokers.
Cigar smoking has become popular in recent years. Some people falsely believe that smoking cigars does not pose the same health dangers as smoking cigarettes. But cigars can cause negative health effects just like cigarettes and cause secondhand smoke just like cigarettes. In fact, cigars can contain up to 70 times as much nicotine as cigarettes7 which is absorbed whether or not the smoke is inhaled.
Cigar smokers are four to 10 times more likely to die than nonsmokers from:7
- Laryngeal cancer
- Oral cancer
- Esophageal cancer