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Health Effects of Tobacco Use

The World Health Organization has confirmed that reducing tobacco use is a global public health priority.  It is the second cause of death worldwide and is responsible for the death of some 5 million people per year.  If current patterns continue, tobacco use will cause some 8 million deaths per year by 2030, according to the World Health Organization.

Tobacco is the leading preventable cause of death in the United States, according to the U.S. Surgeon General.  Tobacco-related disease accounts for an estimated 438,000 deaths, or nearly one in every five U.S. deaths, each year.  This estimate includes approximately 38,000 deaths from secondhand smoke exposure.  Smoking harms nearly every organ of the body, causing many diseases and reducing the health of smokers in general.

More deaths are caused each year by tobacco use than by all deaths from HIV, illegal drug use, alcohol use, motor vehicle injuries, suicides and murders combined.

Nicotine, the addictive ingredient in tobacco, is as addictive as heroin, according to a 2002 Maine Dept. of Health and Human Services report.

Seventy percent of current U.S. adult smokers say they wish to quit.

Secondhand smoke is the third leading preventable cause of premature disease and death in the U.S., and it can be as harmful outdoors as indoors.

Smoking leads to higher employee absenteeism, increased healthcare costs and higher medical insurance costs.

In Maine alone, from 1997-2001, average annual productivity losses attributable to smoking amounted to $465 million.  This is according to the Maine Center for Disease Control.

The litter caused by tobacco use pollutes the environment, detracts from the appearance of the campus and increases maintenance costs.

Tobacco-Free Campus
The University of Maine
Orono, Maine 04469