Effects on Populations

All populations and people are vulnerable to the effects of smoking tobacco and second-hand smoke, but some are more vulnerable than others.
  • Globally, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that around 6 million people die from smoking-related causes annually1.
  • In the U.S., more than 480,000 people die annually ( >1,300/day ) from smoking related causes, accounting for nearly one in five deaths2.
  • Smoking prevalence is higher among persons living in poverty than persons living above poverty: 26.3% versus 15.2% (2014)1.



Native American3

  • Smoke more than any other U.S racial/ethnic population.
  • Smoking prevalence is 29.2%, (US overall avg. 16.8%).
  • Women commonly smoke during pregnancy, increasing risk of premature delivery, low birth weight and SIDS (crib death) complications.

Caucasian- White3


  • Second highest racial/ethnic population of smokers in the US at 18.2%

African American3

  • Third highest racial/ethnic population of US smokers.
  • At 17.5% in 2014; a 4% decrease since 2005.
  • Many more men smoke (22.1%) than women (13.7%).
  • More likely to smoke menthol-flavored cigarettes which can worsen nicotine addiction and health effects


  • Nearly the lowest rate of smokers in the U.S. at 11.2%.


  • The lowest smoking rate by race and ethnicity at 9.5%.

HIV positive4

  • Smoking prevalence rates range from 40-70%.
  • Higher disease development rate than general population.
  • Smoking works synergistically with HIV and significantly increases mortality rates.
  • Higher rates of cardiovascular diseases, associated cancers, (lung, head and neck, cervix and anus), and respiratory complications such as COPD.


  • 68-80% of the U.S. homeless are current smokers.
  • A substantially higher mortality rate of 2 to 5 times than the housed.
  • Excessive mortality is high due to exposure of risk factors including smoking, which increases risk for a myriad of diseases likely to be poorly controlled.

Children between 3 and 18 years2

(nearly half of all children)


  • Are exposed to cigarette smoke on a regular basis.
  • Are targeted by tobacco marketing industry to encourage smoking from an early age.
  • Every day >3,200 kids under 18 smoke their first cigarette.
  • Now targeted by the tobacco industry for e-cigarette use using child-friendly flavors. 

The financial impact of smoking in direct medical expenses and lost productivity in the U.S. is estimated between $289 to $332 billion annually.2