Smoking and Tobacco
Smoking is the most preventable cause of disease, disability and death in Missouri. Nearly 10,000 Missourians die every year from tobacco-related illnesses, including lung cancer, heart disease and stroke. More than 1,100 additional deaths are caused by exposure to secondhand smoke every year.
Tobacco use also creates a significant economic burden in Missouri. Approximately $2 billion is spent every year in Missouri to treat smoking-related illnesses.
Although Missouri’s smoking rates are still high, there has been a significant decline in adult smoking from 2011 and 2012. Approximately 22.1 percent of adults and 9.2 percent of high school students in Missouri smoke. Smoking rates are also high among pregnant women in Missouri. Approximately one of every six pregnant women smokes, a rate significantly higher than the national average. Smoking during pregnancy increases the risk for preterm delivery, stillbirth, low birth weight and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.
Missouri’s comprehensive tobacco control initiatives include efforts to create community smokefree air laws, youth tobacco use prevention, tobacco cessation assistance, and education and awareness through media.
Missouri offers free help to smokers who want to quit using tobacco. The Missouri Tobacco Quitline provides counseling, information, and referrals. The Quitline number is 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669).