Around 443,000 people die each year because of cigarette smoking, making it the cause of 1 out of 5 deaths in the United States. Smoking kills more people than car accidents, alcohol, illegal drugs, murders, suicides and AIDS combined. Out of the estimated 443,000 who die, 38,000 are from second-hand smoke, or inhalation of smoke exhaled by smokers.
Because it is so dangerous, manufacturers of tobacco products are required by federal law to indicate warnings on the packages of their products such as the following:
- Cigar Smoking Can Cause Cancers Of The Mouth And Throat, Even If You Do Not Inhale.
- Cigarette Smoke Contains Carbon Monoxide.
- Smokeless Tobacco May Cause Gum Disease And Tooth Loss
- Smokeless Tobacco May Cause Mouth Cancer.
- Smoking By Pregnant Women May Result in Fetal Injury, Premature Birth, And Low Birth Weight.
- Smoking Causes Lung Cancer, Heart Disease, Emphysema, and May Complicate Pregnancy.
- Tobacco Smoke Increases The Risk Of Lung Cancer And Heart Disease, Even In Nonsmokers.
Smoking: Deaths and Injuries
Smoking can affect almost every organ or part of the body, but most especially the heart and lungs. It can cause chronic lung diseases and has been known to cause cancer in the mouth, esophagus, larynx, lungs, pancreas, bladder, kidneys and cervix.
Studies on the effects of tobacco showed that:
- On the average, 129,000 people die from lung cancer as a result of smoking
- 126,000 die of coronary heart disease and congestive heart failure caused by smoking.
- 90,000 people die each year from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) caused by smoking. The two most common forms of COPD are emphysema and chronic obstructive bronchitis.
- 35,000 die of smoking-related cancer each year
- About 16,000 die of stroke caused by smoking
- 44,000 die of other diseases related to smoking
Smoking cigarettes are not the only form of tobacco that causes harm. Cigars and chewing tobacco are also dangerous to health since they have been found to also cause cancers in the mouth, throat and esophagus.
High Medical Costs of Smoking Related Injuries
The cost for treatment of smoking-related diseases and conditions is very significant. The treatment and care for an afflicted person will weigh heavily on the finances of their families.
The annual estimated cost of public and private smoking-related health expenses reaches to about $96 billion. In addition to this, there are other costs such as:
- $2.6 billion paid via Social Security to children who have lost at least one parent due to smoking.
- $4.98 billion for second-hand smoke-related health care costs, including expenditures for babies and children whose mothers either smoked, or were exposed to smoking.
- $619 per American taxpayer household towards government expenditures for smoking-caused healthcare costs and related spending.
- $97 billion in lost productivity costs for employers due to smoking-related illnesses, including sick days and disability.
Unless smoking rates decline, more than 6 million children under 18 who are alive today will be dead from smoking-related problems in the future. Every day, roughly 1,000 children under 18 years-old become new, regular smokers
A new federal law, the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, requires tobacco companies to give the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) a detailed list of all the ingredients in their tobacco products by June 22, 2010. This includes all single chemical ingredients (e.g., hydrogen cyanide and ammonia), tobacco leaves, and complex purchased ingredients (e.g., flavor extracts, like chocolate and spices).
Smoking Injuries and Your Legal Rights
Non-smokers may be entitled to Workers’ Compensation benefits if they get sick or are injured in relation to tobacco smoke at work. More and more employees have been awarded with workers comp, as long as they prove that their injury is caused by tobacco smoke and that the smoke was inhaled while at the place of work.
You may be entitled to compensation for current and future expenses, in addition to special legal damages if you or a loved one experienced smoking-related injuries.
When meeting with an attorney, keep in mind the following in providing important information which may help your case:
- Whether you and your loved ones may be entitled to compensation for current and future medical and treatment expenses;
- If you and your loved ones can recover lost wages from work, and other out-of-pocket expenses stemming from smoking-related injuries; and
- Whether smoking injuries may entitle you and your loved ones to recover damages for pain and suffering.
Tobacco and Cigarette Smoking Injuries – Get Legal Help
There have been numerous law suits filed by smokers and their families against tobacco companies. The most common lawsuits are personal injury, product liability and wrongful death.
If you or your loved one has been injured or has developed medical conditions as a result of cigarette or tobacco smoking or chewing tobacco, consult your doctor immediately.
You may also want to consider meeting with an experienced attorney in order to get more information and to discuss what options are available to you for legal remedy for the injuries you suffered because of a tobacco product.