According to Two Rivers Public Health Department, tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States. They report that tobacco kills more than 400,000 people annually – more than AIDS, alcohol, car accidents, illegal drugs, murders and suicides combined.
In addition, tobacco costs the U.S. more than $96 billion in health care expenditures and $97 billion in lost productivity each year.
The health department says that one in five Americans smokes despite the major decline over the years, and around 4,000 youths try their first cigarette each day.
Data from Nebraska shows that 2,200 adults die each year from smoking; 36,000 kids that are currently under 18 years of age will die prematurely from smoking; $537 million is spent annually for health care costs in Nebraska directly caused by smoking; and $573 per household goes to state and federal taxes for smoking-caused government expenditures.
The above totals do not include health costs caused by exposure to secondhand smoke, smoking-caused fires, smokeless tobacco use, or cigar and pipe smoking.
According to Two Rivers, tobacco use also imposes additional costs such as workplace productivity losses and damage to property.
If you are interested in getting involved in making your community smoke-free, go to kickbuttsday.org or call Heather at Two Rivers at 308-995-4778 to get connected with a tobacco free coalition in your community.