Tobacco Issues
Tobacco smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in the U.S. responsible for the death of 1,900 people a year in NH. It can cause serious illness, lung cancer, and premature death.

What is the impact of tobacco use?

Tobacco use continues to be the leading cause of preventable death in the United States and in New Hampshire. Most COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease), the umbrella term for chronic bronchitis and/or emphysema, is caused by tobacco use or exposure to secondhand smoke. Tobacco use is also known to cause many forms of cancer. Exposure to secondhand smoke causes chronic ear and respiratory infections in children and makes asthma worse. Breathe New Hampshire is committed to preventing youth from using tobacco products, eliminating exposure to secondhand smoke, and helping those already addicted to the nicotine in tobacco products to quit, and stay quit. 

Effective July 2020: The Minimum Age to Purchase Tobacco Products in New Hampshire is 21.

The NH Youth Network brought attention to the impact of tobacco use in New Hampshire and the number of lives lost in New Hampshire due to smoking through NH Soles Lost… At What Cost?.

  • 1,900: The number of people in NH who die each year from smoking
  • $729 Million: Amount of money spent on smoking-related health care costs in NH each year
  • $0: Amount of state money spent on tobacco use prevention in NH each year - NH does receive money from a Centers for Disease Control (CDC) federal grant
  • 158: Number of people in NH who die per month from smoking
  • 480,000: Number of people in the U.S. who die each year from cigarette smoking (includes deaths from secondhand smoke)
  • 3,200: Number of youth per day in the U.S. under 18,  who smoke their first cigarette
  • Cigarette Smoking:Remains the leading cause of preventable death in the U.S., about 1 out of every 5 deaths per year 
  • 1,300: Number of people that die each day in the U.S. due to smoking
  • 9 Out of 10 Smokers: Start smoking by age 18
  • 99% of Adult Smokers: Started smoking by age 26
  • $289 Billion: Cost to U.S. economy a year - nearly $133 billion in direct medical costs and an additional $156 billion in lost productivity  


1 - New Hampshire Tobacco Data Book, 2007 NH DHHS, Division of Public Health Services, Tobacco Prevention and Control Program 
2 - 2012 Report of the Surgeon General – Preventing Tobacco Use Among Youth and Young Adults- US Department of Health and Human Services
3 - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Smoking-Attributable Mortality, Years of Potential Life Lost, and Productivity Losses—United States, 2000–2004. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 2008; 57 (45):1226–8 [accessed 2011 Mar 11].
4- The Toll of Tobacco in NH-Campaign forTobacco Free Kids, Washington DC. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) ―State Specific Smoking-Attributable Mortality and Years of Potential Life Lost-US, 2000-2004, January 22, 2009 

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