Famous Tobacco Victims
We often think that the health risks associated with tobacco use don't apply to the larger than life celebrity figures we admire, but the fact is, no one is immune to the diseases that follow tobacco use.
Let's take a look at some of the famous people we've lost to tobacco over the years.
Smoking and Heart Disease
The leading cause of death in the world and the leading cause of death from smoking, cardiovascular disease accounts for 17 million deaths annually worldwide. Most come from heart attacks and strokes.
Famous Tobacco Victims: Heart Disease
- Louis Armstrong
- Leonard Bernstein
- John Candy
- Noel Coward
- F. Scott Fitzgerald
- Ian Fleming
- Errol Flynn
- Clark Gable
- Walter Matthau
The toxins in cigarette smoke cause plaques to form in the arteries of smokers, leading to atherosclerosis, also known as hardening of the arteries. Smoking can also cause sudden heart attacks, even in people who have never had a cardiac event before. Smokers have two to three times the risk of nonsmokers of dying from cardiovascular disease.
Smoking and Cancer
The second cause of death in the United States today, approximately 30% of all cancer deaths are linked to tobacco use. Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death and also the most preventable, with 87% of lung cancer deaths being related to smoking.
Smoking-related cancer risk goes up with the number of pack years reached.
Famous Tobacco Victims: Cancer
- Stephen E. Ambrose
- Desi Arnaz
- James Baldwin
- Count Basie
- Barbara Bel Geddes
- Renaldo "Obie" Benson
- Art Blakey
- Bill Blass
- Humphrey Bogart
- Rosemary Clooney
- Ty Cobb
- Nat King Cole
- Wilhelmina Behmenburg Cooper
- George Harrison
- Paul Newman
- Patrick Swayze
- John Updike
Smoking is directly linked to most types of chronic lung disease. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema, is the third leading cause of death in the United States today, claiming a life every 4 minutes.
Twelve million people have been diagnosed with COPD and it's estimated another 12 million have it who haven't been diagnosed.
Famous Tobacco Victims: COPD
If we live long enough, just about all of us will be touched in some way by the destruction that follows tobacco. Here at About.com Smoking Cessation we have a gallery that pays tribute to those we've loved and lost to tobacco.
If you're still smoking, quit now.
World Health Organization. The Atlas of Heart Disease and Stroke.http://www.who.int/cardiovascular_diseases/resources/atlas/en/. Accessed August 2011.
World Health Organization. WHO Report on the Global Tobacco Epidemic, 2011. http://www.who.int/tobacco/global_report/2011/en_tfi_global_report_2011_summary.pdf. Accessed August 2011.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Smoking and Tobacco Use - Fast Facts. http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/fact_sheets/fast_facts/index.htm. Accessed August 2011.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Surgeon General's Reports. Highlights: Smoking Among Adults in the United States: Cancer. http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/sgr/2004/highlights/cancer/index.htm. Accessed August 2011.
American Cancer Society. Tobacco-Related Cancers Fact Sheet. http://www.cancer.org/Cancer/CancerCauses/TobaccoCancer/tobacco-related-cancer-fact-sheet Accessed August 2011.
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. What is COPD? http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/public/lung/copd/what-is-copd/index.htm. Accessed August 2011.