Smoking Cessation: A Report of the Surgeon General - Smoking Cessation by the Numbers
About 34 million U.S. adults currently smoke cigarettes.
- Smoking is the leading cause of preventable disease and death in the United States
- 480,000 Americans die from smoking each year, accounting for nearly 1 in 5 deaths
- 16 million Americans live with a smoking-related disease
- Smoking-related death and disease cost the United States over $300 billion each year
Smoking cessation improves health, saves lives, and reduces financial burden.
- Reduces risk of premature death and can add as much as a decade to life expectancy
- Reduces risk for many adverse health effects, including reproductive health outcomes, cardiovascular diseases, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and 12 types of cancer
- Benefits people who have already been diagnosed with coronary heart disease or COPD
- Has benefits at any age, with greater benefits for those who quit earlier in life
- Reduces the financial burden that smoking places on people who smoke, healthcare systems, and society
Most adults who smoke want to quit; many try to quit and eventually succeed in quitting.
- Nearly 70% of adults who smoke say they want to quit
- Each year, over 50% of adults who smoke try to quit
- 3 in 5 adults who ever smoked have quit
Evidence-based treatments work.
- 3 forms of counseling: individual, group, and telephone
- 7 medications approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) including 5 forms of nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) and 2 non-nicotine medications
- Combining counseling and medications can more than double the chances of successfully quitting
- Using combinations of NRT, such as long-acting NRT (patch) with short-acting NRT (gum or lozenge), can further increase the likelihood of quitting
- Text messaging and web-based cessation interventions can help people successfully quit smoking
Evidence-based treatments are underused.
- Fewer than 1 in 3 adults who try to quit smoking use proven cessation treatments.
- Coordinated action is needed at the clinical, system, and population levels to:
- Increase treatment delivery by integrating cessation interventions into routine healthcare
- Improve treatment access through comprehensive, barrier-free, and widely promoted insurance coverage of smoking cessation treatments
- Create environments that encourage people to quit smoking and make quitting easier by:
- Raising the price of cigarettes
- Implementing hard-hitting mass media campaigns
- Implementing smoke-free policies
- Requiring pictorial health warnings
- Maintaining statewide comprehensive tobacco control programs.
E-cigarettes are a changing group of products and further research is needed on their potential effectiveness for smoking cessation.
- Research is uncertain on whether e-cigarettes, in general, increase smoking cessation.
- Some research suggests that using e-cigarettes containing nicotine is associated with greater smoking cessation compared to e-cigarettes that don’t contain nicotine, and some research suggests that more frequent use of e-cigarettes is associated with greater smoking cessation than less frequent use.
- The FDA has not approved e-cigarettes as a quit smoking aid, and more research is needed on whether e-cigarettes are effective for quitting smoking and to better understand the health effects of e-cigarettes.
- E-cigarettes are not safe for youth, young adults, pregnant women, as well as adults who do not currently use tobacco products.
- In order for adult smokers to achieve any meaningful health benefits from e-cigarettes, they would need to fully switch to e-cigarettes and stop smoking cigarettes completely.
- Among those who have switched completely, the ultimate goal should be to also stop using e-cigarettes completely to achieve the maximum health benefit.