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Health Effects of Tobacco Use


Tobacco use has serious effects on the health of users. In fact, tobacco use remains the leading preventable cause of disease and death in the United States,1 leading to more than 480,000 deaths each year. 

Different tobacco products, however, pose varying levels of health risk to users. Combustible products that burn tobacco, like a cigarette, are the most harmful to a user’s health, while noncombustible products, such as e-cigarettes, may be less harmful. However, no tobacco product is considered safe. 

Health Effects of Smoking 

Cigarettes are responsible for the vast majority of all tobacco-related disease and death in the U.S. Smokers are exposed to a toxic mix of over 7,000 chemicals when they inhale cigarette smoke,2 the consequences of which can threaten their health in many ways. 

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Health Effects of Smoking Infographic

If you or a loved one are among the 34 million U.S. adults who smoke cigarettes in this country9 and want to quit, there are resources to help you on your journey to living a smoke-free life.

COVID-19 and Smoking

Am I at risk for serious complications from COVID-19 if I smoke cigarettes?

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Yes. Data show that when compared to never smokers, cigarette smoking increases the risk of more severe illness from COVID-19, which could result in hospitalization, the need for intensive care, or even death. Smoking cigarettes can cause inflammation and cell damage throughout the body, and can weaken your immune system, making it less able to fight off disease.

There’s never been a better time to quit smoking. If you need resources to help you quit smoking, the FDA has supportive tips and tools to help you get closer to quitting for good.

If I vape tobacco or nicotine am I at risk for complications from COVID-19?

E-cigarette use can expose the lungs to toxic chemicals, but whether those exposures increase the risk of COVID-19 or the severity of COVID-19 outcomes is not known. However, many e-cigarette users are current or former smokers, and cigarette smoking increases the risk of respiratory infections, including pneumonia.

In the Health Effects of Tobacco Use Section

Quitting Smoking and Other Tobacco Public Health Resources

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