Smoking has killed more than 20 million Americans since 1964, while around 8.6 million people are suffering from serious smoking-related illnesses as of 2015. Around 90 percent of lung cancers and 80 percent of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease deaths are caused by smoking.
In the United States, around 20 percent of adults and teenagers are smokers. However, the proportion of adult smokers has been declining since the 1960s.
Smoking is harmful to others; non-smokers who breathe in secondhand smoke face a higher risk of lung cancer and heart disease. Secondhand smoke puts children at a higher risk of developing ear infections, asthma and other respiratory issues.
Smokeless tobacco is also harmful, as it contains addictive nicotine along with carcinogens. Along with oral and pancreatic cancer, it can lead to gum disease, lowered sperm count in men and pregnancy issues in women.
Tobacco products continue to be heavily marketed in the United States. Much of the tobacco companies' promotional budgets is spent on providing discounts to retailers, as increased cigarette prices lead to lower smoking rates among youth.
Some tobacco advertising is aimed at certain populations, such as the African-American, Hispanic and Native American communities. Advertising aimed at women over the past 50 years has led to an increase in disease risks from smoking for women.