More than 34 million Americans still smoke cigarettes, and smoking remains the single largest preventable cause of death and illness in the world. Smoking causes an estimated 480,000 deaths every year, or about 1 in 5 deaths. And more than 16 million Americans live with a smoking-related disease. While the cigarette smoking rate has dropped significantly, from 42% in 1965 to 14% in 2017, the gains have been inconsistent. Some groups of Americans suffer disproportionately from smoking-related cancer and other diseases, including those who have less education, who live below the poverty level, or who suffer from serious psychological distress, as well as certain racial and ethnic groups, and lesbians, gays and bisexuals.
Quitting smoking improves health immediately and over the long term – at any age. Stopping smoking is hard, but you can increase your chances of success with help. Getting help through counseling and medications doubles or even triples your chances of quitting successfully.