Grim statistics: Cigarettes make millions sick

Sunday, November 30, 2003

December 1, 2003

ATLANTA - An estimated 8.6 million people in the United States have serious illnesses attributed to smoking with chronic bronchitis and emphysema accounting for 59% of all smoking-attributable diseases, according to a new report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The report (Cigarette Smoking-Attributable Morbidity - United States, 2000) provides the first national estimates of the number of people with serious chronic illnesses caused by smoking and the total number of their smoking-attributable conditions. The findings indicate that more people are harmed by tobacco use than is indicated by mortality estimates.

Mortality data indicates the number of persons who die of a disease each year. Morbidity data from this study was used to estimate the number of people living with diseases caused by smoking.

Each year in the United States, approximately 440,000 persons die of a cigarette smoking-attributable illness, resulting in 5.6 million years of potential life lost, $75 billion in direct medical costs, and $82 billion in lost productivity, the CDC reported.

In 2000, an estimated 8.6 million people in the United States had an estimated 12.7 million smoking-attributable conditions. For current smokers, chronic bronchitis was the most prevalent (49%) condition, followed by emphysema (24%). For former smokers, the three most prevalent conditions were chronic bronchitis (26%), emphysema (24%), and previous heart attack (24%). Lung cancer accounted for 1% of all cigarette smoking-attributable illnesses, according to the report.