Tobacco Smokes the World (Infographic)

As I’ve mentioned in a number of earlier posts, smoking is a costly habit. Besides being unhealthy, cigarettes can cost a pack-a-day smoker over $2500 a year, and we could all use that money to pay down debt, take a vacation, or just have some insurance money left in the bank.

It’s also shocking to realize that Big Tobacco – the same industry we thought we got rid of years ago – is quietly raking in some serious profits. A lot of these profits are coming from overseas markets, but Big Tobacco is still advertising here at home. After 40 years of decline, the smoking rate in the US has flat-lined for the last five years.

I’ve heard plenty of feedback this week on my recent spate of infographics, so take what you will from this one. I personally am floored by the lot of the statistics and I think that, like the other infographics I’ve posted, this one should help expose just how large the Tobacco industry is and how much it affects you and your family. Enjoy!

Tobacco Smoking Infographic


  1. It’s been pointed out (This American Life?) that smoking deaths actually tend to reduce lifetime healthcare costs since dying early, on balance, reduces the amount of total healthcare consumed by an individual.

    It’d be nice to see some stat (confirming or refuting) about that on the chart.

  2. If I remember correctly, the opening quote came from the actor who played the Marlboro Man in the commercials. He was at a meeting with company executives and noticed he was the only one smoking. He later died from lung cancer.

  3. I think your last statement – “More than 48 Million Americans successfully quit smoking in 2008” is incorrect. The 2007 National Health Interview Survey found that there were 43.4 million smokers total in the US. Did you mean 4.8 million? (though that wouldn’t jibe with the statement that only 4.7% of smokers successfully quit).

  4. Does anyone have any feedback on the electronic cigarettes? I am just curious as to whether the advent of them has helped decrease smoking rates. Although, I’m sure the rising costs of cigarettes is probably the largest factor.

  5. I stopped smoking years ago, but since when did this site become “anti-corporatist dad”? First your Wal-Mart screed and now this.

    Don’t like tobacco? Don’t buy any. Isn’t that the same advice you’d give on abortion?

    I’m removing this feed from my reader. If I want to see this kind of preachy nonsense I’ll go look at the Occupy Wherever crowd.

  6. Hi – I’ve actually started reading this blog because I like the author’s willingness to look not just at how much money he/we spend as individual consumers, but also at the larger societal picture and the impact/influence corporations have on how we spend, etc…

    I enjoy being challenged to think about the “big picture” here in our country.

  7. Bad diet. Bad diet is the #1 cause of preventable deaths in the US/Can/other. Stroke? Diabetes? Cancer (all but lung)? Kidney failures? Osteoporosis? High blood-pressure? All *preventable cases* of people contracting these health problems are caused by them consuming animal-products. Cultures where the diet is more plant-based have less sick a population that also lives longer. There are more people who eat badly (because they aren’t properly informed on nutrition- as animal-exploiting industries are the ones that finance the “proper diet” propaganda, like the 4 food groups) than people who smoke. Just wanted to point that out.

  8. Ick. I’m all for free choice in the things we do and buy, but when it comes to the stat on leaving kids fatherless, I can’t help but feel angry. My husband lost his mother just a year after we were married, and it was mainly due to her poor health from smoking. It makes me sad to think of my kids never having met “Grandma”….. and having lost her so early in our marriage was super stressful for us. Thanks for sharing the stats!

  9. Damn I love these infographics!

    I disagree with your sentiment that it’s those Big Tobacco Executives killing people by selling them ciggarettes. Do you hold Mitsibishi responsible for deaths caused by drunk motorists? I think it’s a silly stance to take.

    Consumers make their own choice to smoke, and are solely responsible for their own decisions. Nobody’s holding a gun to their head. 🙂

    • Thanks for sharing such a powerful infographic!

      Big Mike, I think your comparison to Mitsibishi is unfair. Every motorist is responsible for they way they handle their car, but if Mitsibishi distributes cars that are knowingly made with faulty breaks or missing materials, they would in fact be considered responsible to an extent. We know that the Tobacco Executives are knowingly selling a product that has been proven dangerous. With Cigarettes it doesn’t matter what frame of mind an individual is in, drunk or not, the product is just as dangerous. This isn’t a game of chance, they are knowingly selling a deadly product. I understand that people make their own decisions, but at some point morals, common sense, and regulation must be enforced. At least they are rich right? I guess that helps them sleep at night…

  10. Thanks for sharing your infographic! As the only non-smoker in my family, it just supports how I’ve always felt about smoking. I grew up in a house where my mom smoked indoors and inside the car with us. She smoked since she was 16 and is now in her early 60s with COPD. She’s had a wake up call finally and said she’s quitting. We’ll see!

  11. I wonder if the lead quote is real or urban myth? It’s too perfect if you know what I mean.

    EVERYONE knows smoking is bad. South Park once did an episode on this. A tobacco executive says something like “Everyone knows that smoking is dangerous. But in spite of the risk some people still choose to smoke. It is for these people that we produce cigarettes.”

    Kyle says “That’s perfectly reasonable!”

  12. There are plenty of good arguments against smoking. It damages your credibility to use statistical garbage and deception instead, no matter how cleverly produced.

  13. Ive never smoked, but it doesnt really bother me if someone else does. Its their body. Im not too concerned about second hand smoke either, because I can get up and leave. Individually, money wise, smoking is a big expense and waste. Nevermind the health effects. That alone should be enough to get people thinking about quitting.

  14. My father smoked for 52 years now he has bladder cancer has to have four months of chemo and then his bladder, prostate, and multiple glands removed. He quit smoking the day he found out. Way too late though.