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November 20, 2008
How many people still smoke?

stopsmoking.jpgToday is the 33rd Great American Smokeout, the American Cancer Society's annual effort to encourage smokers to quit for a day. The ACS says it's never been a better time to stop smoking because of all the resources and help available. That includes the Quitline (1-800-227-2345), a free telephone service where smokers can get confidential counseling from trained advisers.

Just how many smokers are there in the country? According to the federal Centers for Disease Control, about 43.4 million (or one in five) adults currently smoke. The CDC provides a detailed statistical portrait of smokers broken down by gender, age, race, education and poverty status. The agency also reports that smoking and exposure to tobacco smoke result in about 443,000 premature deaths in the United States every year. Check out this sobering table showing annual deaths attributed to a variety of smoking-related diseases. It also shows years of potential life lost and the economic productivity lost for each of the diseases. 

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About Data Surfer

It's all about information -- statistics, documents and data of all types that help us understand the world, make informed decisions and monitor government. It's about empowering citizens with tools and sources so they can conduct their own investigative research. This blog is a place to discuss information that's available on the Internet. What's relevant, useful, valid and accurate -- and what's not.

We know the Sacramento region is home to knowledgeable people who use online information in their respective fields. We want to hear from you. Please tell us what you think of the data we use in stories and post on The Bee's website. And share tips about online resources you think are valuable to this blog's readers. Post comments on this blog or contact Pete Basofin directly at pbasofin@sacbee.com.

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