For Tobacco-Free Awareness Week, NeedyMeds is taking a look at the costs of a smoking habit. Smoking certainly has a cost on public health, with nearly half a million deaths attributed to tobacco use every year. Smoking causes cancer, heart disease, stroke, lung diseases, diabetes, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), as well as increases risk for tuberculosis, eye disease, and problems with your immune system. Since the Surgeon General started reporting on smoking and its health impacts in 1964, 20 million people have died from smoking-related illnesses, including 2.5 million nonsmokers who were exposed to secondhand smoke. There are also substantial financial costs. On top of the cost of cigarettes, Americans spend nearly $170 billion in health-care costs and more than $156 billion in lost productivity due to smoking-related illnesses or premature death each year.