Topics > Tobacco

Tobacco is a leafy plant grown around the world. In 2007, four countries-China, Brazil, India, and the United States-produced two-thirds of the world’s tobacco. Tobacco is currently grown in 16 states in the United States. The largest tobacco-producing states are Kentucky and North Carolina. They account for 71% of all tobacco grown in the United States.

Dried tobacco leaves can be:

  • Shredded and smoked in cigarettes, cigars, and pipes
  • Ground into snuff, which is sniffed through the nose
  • Cured and made into chewing tobacco
  • Moistened, ground or shredded into dip, which is placed in the mouth between the lip and gum

Tobacco is an addictive substance because it contains the chemical nicotine. Like heroin or cocaine, nicotine changes the way your brain works and causes you to crave more and more nicotine. This addiction to nicotine is what makes it so difficult to quit smoking and other tobacco

U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, 2013

Facts & Figures
Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable illness and death in the United States. It causes many different cancers as well as chronic lung diseases such as emphysema and bronchitis, heart disease, pregnancy-related problems, and many other serious health problems.

  • Each day, more than 3,600 people under 18 smoke their first cigarette, and more than 900 begin smoking on a daily basis.
  • In 2011, an estimated 19 percent of U.S. adults were cigarette smokers.
  • Approximately 18% of high school students smoke cigarettes.
  • In 2011, nearly 18% of high school boys were current cigar users.
  • From 2005 to 2011, the proportion of adult smokers declined from 20.9% to 19.0%.

U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, 2013 – betobaccofree.hhs.gov

General Resources

Smoking & Tobacco Use – Fast Facts (CDC-2013)

Recognize Tobacco in its Many Forms (FDA-2014)

How Tobacco Smoke Causes Disease (U.S. Surgeon General-2010), Spanish

Is Everything You Know About Smoking Wrong? (CDC-2010)

Health Effects of Cigarette Smoking (CDC-2013)

Pathways to Freedom: Winning the Fight Against Tobacco (African-American) – (Dept. of Health and Human Services-2002)

Tobacco Use Among African-Americans in Minnesota (ClearWay MN-2009)

Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders, Native Hawaiians and Tobacco Use (CDC-2016)

Hispanics/Latinos and Tobacco Use (CDC-2016)

Economic Facts about U.S. Tobacco Production and Use (CDC-2013)

Special Topics

Electronic Cigarettes (E-Cigarettes)

Tobacco Products & Types

Youth & Tobacco Use

Secondhand Smoke

Tools for Tobacco Prevention

Best Practices for Comprehensive Tobacco Control Programs (CDC-2014)

Prevent Tobacco Use: A CADCA Toolkit (CADCA-2014)

Point-of-Sale Strategies: a Tobacco Control Guide (Center for Public Health Systems Science-2014)