Health Issues of Tobacco in the USA

The amount of smoking-related deaths each year in the USA (400,000) matches the number of Americans who died in World War II (9).
  • Smoking prevalence over 15 years old (1993): men 23.7%, women 22.5%
  • Consumption per capita over 15 years (in pieces, 1995): 2296.2
  • Consumption per smoker in pieces: 4938.34 (39)
    Attitudes about smoking are changing
  • 99% of Americans say smoking is harmful
  • 94% say secondhand smoke harms children
  • 78% believe children of smokers are more likely to use cigarettes
    However:
  • 20-30% don't restrict smoking inside the home or car
  • 22% say it's okay for parents to smoke in front of children (17)
The following Beetle Bailey cartoon from May 6, 2000 reflects the current trend in smoking.

Beetle Bailey Comic Strip

Cancer rates are falling faster than ever and death rates are down because of a decline in cigarette smoking, according to the National Cancer Institute, the American Cancer Society, the North American Association of Central Cancer Registries, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Center for Health Statistics.

  • The number of new cancer cases declined on average 0.8% per year from 1990-1997 (31).
  • Health education campaigns combined with smoke-free policies between 1965 and 1985 in the USA resulted in 40 million people not starting to smoke or quitting (42).
However, the over 15 years old percent growth of smoking has increased: -0.37 (1970-1995), -0.37 (1980-1995), -0.18 (1990-1995)(39)
Smoking Skull
    Mortality from smoking ages 35-69:
  • All cancer: 1985 39%, 1995 42%
  • Lung cancer: 1985 91%, 1995 91% (39)
    According to the World Health Organization:
  • Estimate for cigarette consumption per capita (1995): 1,530 for the Americas, 2,080 for Europe
  • Mortality estimates (1998): 772 for the Americas, 1,273 for Europe (42)
US patients have better survival rates than European patients for most types of cancer. Even if the age of diagnosis increases, survival decreases in both the USA and Europe, but more in Europe (2). A reason for this occurrence may be because the USA has a higher GDP health expenditure than Italy, which has one of the lowest in Europe. A higher GDP health expenditure and longer survival rates for each gender are significantly correlated indicating an association between fiscal input and clinical outcomes (15).

The world is starting to follow America's lead in the fight against tobacco. In 1999 cigarettes smoked per person in the USA fell by 8% and 3% for the world (9).

    Even Philip Morris International is joining in by pledging to support:
  • Minimum age laws in every country.
  • Youth access programs everywhere.
  • Youth anti-smoking programs organized in concert with education and health officials in every country.
  • Placing the message "underage sale prohibited" or equivalent on every package where legally feasible.
  • To work with governments and their competitors proactively to achieve the reforms necessary to reduce youth smoking in each country in which they operate (30).
Smoking Woman
Badvertising AdThe BADvertising Institute is another organization working against the deceitfulness of the tobacco companies. It tries to reverse the seductive effect tobacco ads have on consumers by correlating a feeling of disgust when combined with the thought of tobacco.
  • Juxtaposes gross and disgusting images onto existing tobacco ads.
  • Provides projects and materials for visitors to create.
  • Offers greeting cards and products with its BADvertising themes(5).
Badvertising Ad
Top of Page Home Back