Smoking kills people & economy, CDC says

by Kinisha Correia

Cigarette smoking remains the single largest cause of preventable disease and death in the United States, killing more than 480,000 Americans each year. For every American who dies from a smoking-related disease, about 30 more suffer at least one serious illness from smoking, which damages nearly every organ in the body.

Besides the harm it does to peoples’ lives, cigarette smoking also has a significant impact on the U.S. economy.

Smoking costs more than $300 billion a year—including nearly $170 billion in direct medical care for adults and more than $156 billion in lost productivity.

On April 1, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) kicked off the eighth year of the “Tips From Former Smokers” campaign, which the organization deems as an important counter to the billions spent on advertising and promotion of cigarettes.

The campaign ads share personal stories of Americans suffering from smoking-related illnesses—and the devastating impact of these illnesses on smokers’ families.

One of the ads features Susan Nimoy, the wife of Leonard Nimoy, the American actor best known for his role as Spock on Star Trek. Leonard Nimoy quit smoking cigarettes after 37 years. He suffered from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), as a result of smoking, until his death in 2015. Nimoy’s desire to educate the public about the dangers of smoking will now live on as part of CDC’s Tips campaign.

The ads also other stories that highlight the harms of smoking and the benefits of quitting. Terrie from North Carolina, who was diagnosed with oral and throat cancers at age 40, spoke through a stoma. Terrie died September 16, 2013, from smoking-related cancer. She was 53. Christine, age 55, was 44 when she was diagnosed with oral cancer, which eventually required doctors to remove half of her jaw.

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