18+ Deadly Smoking Statistics (2021)

Last modified: February 5, 2021

How many people die from smoking? For years, smoking has been one of the world’s leading causes of death, given the fact that the bad habit brings a variety of preventable diseases. It’s believed that roughly 7 million deaths are caused on a yearly basis by smoking. Despite this fact, millions of people continue to smoke. As part of our research into these smoking statistics, we were quick to find that fewer people are starting to smoke today when compared to the early 2000s, yet quitting remains a difficult endeavor that entails strong discipline.

As part of this article, we’ll outline some of the main statistics concerning smoking. As such, the main topics that will be covered include the risks and fatality rates, as well as statistics associated with certain demographics, like the number of teens or pregnant women who smoke, how it impacts your health insurance coverage, and more.

Quick Smoking Statistics – 2021 

  • Smoking currently causes over 7 million deaths per year.
  • 5.6 million young Americans might die because of smoking.
  • Second-hand smoke causes 1.2 million deaths worldwide.
  • In 2015, 7 out of 10 smokers (68%) reported they wanted to quit completely.
  • Smoking is one of the world’s leading causes of impoverishment.

What percentage of smokers die from smoking?

According to BMC Medicine, 67% of smokers die from smoking-related illnesses, including lung disease, heart disease, and over 13 types of cancer.

What percentage of smokers will get cancer?

The statistics about smoking indicate that roughly 10%–15% of smokers develop lung cancer, whereas the numbers that incorporate all types of cancer are much higher.

What is the average lifespan of a smoker?

Smoking causes a loss of approximately 25 years of life expectancy—most smokers die when they reach middle age.

Which country has the most smokers?

It’s estimated that China has 300.8 million smokers, followed by India with 274.9 million smokers, according to recent smoking statistics.

Smoking & Death Statistics

1. 58% of Americans favor charging smokers higher rates for health insurance to provide them with an incentive to stop smoking.

Smoking kills, as medical science has clearly proved. This causes an enormous economic and medical toll on the country, which is why it should not be surprising to hear that 58% of Americans favor charging smokers higher health insurance rates.

Many believe that the higher rates for health insurance will incentivize smokers to quit smoking in order to save money on health insurance costs.

2. An insurance company has the right to charge up to 50% higher premiums for tobacco users.

The Affordable Care Act (ACA), better known as Obamacare, specifically allows a 1.5 to 1 ratio for tobacco use, which means that insurers can charge tobacco users up to 50% more than non-tobacco users. This practice is known as tobacco rating and it is not always the case with all insurers.

Considering how many people smoke, many insurance companies realize that tobacco rating may deter tobacco users and corporations from getting individual and group health insurance from them. This is why they keep their tobacco rating lower than the allowed maximum of 50%.  

3. Lying to your insurance provider about smoking may be considered insurance fraud.

If you apply for health insurance and lie about your tobacco use and smoking habits to get lower premiums, it may be considered a form of insurance fraud. The reason is that lying to the insurer and misrepresenting your health risks may accumulate costs for the insurer in the future.

Withholding information or making false declarations about your tobacco use and smoking habits may result in the cancellation of your insurance contract. It may also result in your contract being declared null and void.

4. Roughly 6 million people over the age of 18 are using electronic nicotine-inhaling devices, such as Juuls, e-cigarettes, and vapes.

The popularization of vaping devices through social media and the internet led to an increase in their use by young adults. These are small, handheld, and battery-operated devices that people use to inhale an aerosol, which commonly contains nicotine, but not always.

The devices also contain chemicals along with different options of flavoring, which make them even more desirable among younger adults lacking tobacco awareness. This caused roughly 6 million people, over the age of 18, to use electronic nicotine-inhaling devices, such as Juuls, e-cigarettes, and vapes.

5. Smoking remains the leading preventable cause of death.

In the US alone, smoking deaths per year amount to over 480,000. This includes more than 40,000 deaths caused by second-hand smoke exposure. Cigarette smoking is directly responsible for 1,300 deaths every day and about one in 5 of all deaths in the US each year.

Moreover, smokers die younger– around 10 years earlier than non-smokers. All of these smoking facts make smoking the leading preventable cause of death in America because if everyone simply quit smoking, these deaths can easily be prevented.

6. In 2018, more than half (55.1%) of adult cigarette smokers made a quitting attempt in the past year.

Seeing how many people die from cigarettes every year and many other scary facts about smoking readily available online, people have increasingly gained tobacco awareness.  This led to more than half of adult cigarette smokers making a quitting attempt in 2018.

7. In 2018, more than 7 of every 100 (7.5%) people who tried quitting succeeded.

Smoking and tobacco facts publically available on the internet are making it increasingly clear as to how many people smoke and what it does to most of them. This makes smokers more aware and they make attempts to quit smoking in order to avoid the fate of a large number of those who regularly do.

In 2018, more than 7 of every 100 people who tried to quit smoking succeed. There are numerous campaigns dedicated to helping smokers leave this dangerous habit. For example, the “Tips from Former Smokers” campaign, from 2012 to 2018, has motivated almost a million smokers to quit smoking for good.

8. Smoking currently causes over 7 million deaths per year.

Well, it’s not actually the habit of smoking that kills, but rather the preventable illnesses that tobacco use causes. As you’ll see in the following stat, smoking is responsible for many severe illnesses and diseases. If this trend isn’t slowed in the near future, over 8 million people will die yearly by 2030, according to our research into smoking statistics worldwide.

Source: CDC

9. Every year in the US, over 480,000 deaths are caused by smoking.

As you can see, the United States also has a big problem with smoking. This is a major risk because it causes illnesses such as heart disease and lung cancer, both of which take hundreds of thousands of lives on a yearly basis. Additionally, roughly 41,000 deaths resulting from second-hand smoke are reported in the US yearly.

Source: CDC

10. 5.6 million young Americans might die because of smoking.

This is a grim statistic. Research has shown that if the current teen smoking trend continues, roughly 5.6 million youths will die prematurely because of smoking-related illnesses. It’s equally important to keep in mind that many more will suffer from these diseases throughout their lives.

Source: CDC

The numbers are a little higher among men, at 278,544 deaths, whereas the remaining 201,773 deaths are among women, according to the CDC and the smoking statistics they provide.

Source: CDC

12. Second-hand smoke causes 1.2 million deaths worldwide.

There’s a common misconception regarding the dangers associated with second-hand smoke. Numerous people seem to believe that they’re safe from the hazard as long as they never take a hit. Unfortunately, this is not the case—a World Health Organization study has determined that 1.2 million deaths are caused by indirect exposure to tobacco.

Source: WHO

13. Smoking is one of the world’s leading causes of poverty.

This statistic directly applies to countries with low and middle incomes, where the worldwide smoking statistics show the highest numbers. As such, numerous households redirect an important percentage of their monthly earnings toward the deadly habit, rather than focusing on more important spending, such as water, food, and quality health care. Curbing this spending behavior is an impossible task, considering the highly addictive nature of smoking.

Source: WHO

14. Countries featuring a high human development index have seen a decline in smoking.

Starting in the 1960s, smoking has declined in countries with a high HDI. In fact, the number of smoking-related deaths began to lower starting in the 1980s and 1990s. However, this pattern may not last, considering the teenage smoking statistics.

Source: TobaccoAtlas

However, many smokers are merely replacing cigarettes with heated tobacco and vaping. While these activities are considered safer, there’s no clear research into the dangers of e-cigarettes at this point in time.

Source: TobaccoAtlas

16. 5.7 trillion cigarettes were smoked worldwide in 2016.

Further smoking facts indicate that a large percentage of these cigarettes were smoked in highly populous regions, such as the Asian continent, the Eastern Mediterranean, and Africa.

Source: TobaccoAtlas

17. Between 2000 and 2015, the number of worldwide smokers decreased by roughly 29 million.

This is absolutely great news. However, it doesn’t mean that efforts to combat this practice should be slowed down now.

Source: WHO

18. Among the countries helping their population quit smoking, statistics indicate that Columbia will effectively reduce its percentage of smokers down to 6.1% by 2025.

As for other countries trying to reduce their rate of tobacco use, by 2025 Argentina should reach 15.2%, the UK should be 15.2%, Sweden will be 13.5%, Australia will hit 10.4%, and Canada will be 9.2%.

In fact, many countries are setting goals to reduce tobacco use by 30% by 2025. Achieving this goal entails keeping a close watch on who purchases cigarettes to ensure that youths don’t start this habit. In general, better rates can be achieved through public education and higher prices for cigarette packs.

Source: Telegraph

19. The smoking statistics by state show that smokers are most prevalent in West Virginia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Alabama, Arkansas, and Ohio.

This statistic was compiled by the US Behavior Risk Factor Surveillance System and shows an alarming percentage of smokers in these states.

Source: CDC

20. The top 10 countries where people smoke the least are Ethiopia, Panama, Ghana, Barbados, Ecuador, Nigeria, Benin, Niger, Uganda, Swaziland.

The World Health Organization studied the top countries where residents smoke the least and the most to come up with these countries.

Source: WHO

21. Here are the top 10 countries where people smoke the most: Kiribati, Nauru, Greece, Serbia, Russia, Jordan, Indonesia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Lebanon and Chile.

According to the World Health Organization’s cigarette smoking statistics, the United Kingdom and the United States both fall in close to the middle of this list, ranking at 82nd and 89th, respectively.

Source: WHO

22. Native Americans and Alaska Natives smoke the most in the US.

24% of people that fit within this group smoke, followed by multiple-race individuals (20.6%), non-Hispanic blacks (14.9%), and non-Hispanic whites (15.2%).

Source: CDC

23. The use of e-cigs in teens rose to 4.9% in the US.

Current teen smoking statistics are quite alarming. The research shows that middle school and high school students are smoking more: 1 out of 20 students admitted to using an e-cig within the last 30 days, as reported by the CDC.

Source: CDC

24. Overall, 7.2% of US teens report using a tobacco product.

The same study also concluded that 1.8% use traditional cigarettes, 1.6% use cigars, 1.8% use smokeless tobacco, and 1.2% use hookahs. It has also been determined that the relevancy of pipe smoking in health statistics is slowly declining, since only 0.3% of teens have reported using a pipe.

Source: Lung

25. 1 out of 14 women who gave birth during 2016 in the US continued smoking throughout their pregnancy.

The US Center for Disease Control and Prevention has, therefore, determined that roughly 7.2% of women smoke while pregnant. This means more educational efforts are required to lower this percentage. When it comes to smoking during pregnancy, statistics show that doing so leads to a variety of birth defects in newborns, as well as still-births.

Source: CNN

26. In 2015, 7 out of 10 smokers (68%) wanted to quit completely.

Due to the highly addictive nature of nicotine, quitting smoking is very difficult. Fortunately, numerous alternative therapies are now available, leading to higher success rates. Despite this aspect, it takes a strong will, support groups, and education, if you want to quit smoking.

Source: CDC

Conclusion

Based on everything that’s been outlined so far, the last couple of years have brought about improvement in the world’s smoking habits. While fewer people smoke today when compared to the last decade, the habit continues to take millions of lives on a yearly basis. Experts throughout the world are actively looking for ways to further curb this habit. The smoking facts prove that we must prevent people from starting to smoke in the first place while we also help existing smokers decide to quit for good.

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