Smoking causes 440,000 premature deaths per year, and 8.6 million people currently suffer from smoking-related illnesses.
Additionally, more than 900 infant deaths result from smoking during pregnancy per year.
We also capture differences here – in this case, smoking is the single most preventable cause of death.
Several pieces of information may need to be captured when specifying a location in any root cause analysis, but at minimum the geographic location and the process occurring must be specified in order to keep the parameters of the investigation well defined.
All such consequences of smoking impact the United Sates’ safety goal.
Smoking also results in the release of over 250 toxic chemicals (not to mention the tendency to leave cigarette butts on the ground); this effects the environmental goal. Finally, the health care costs of smoking, which amount to .7 billion caused directly by smoking and .98 billion caused by secondhand smoke exposure annually, are clearly high enough to be considered a significant burden on the nation’s financial goal.
While the public has grown more aware of the dangers of smoking over the years and some progress has been made in lowering the number of smokers nationwide, smoking remains a major public health issue in the United States that often seems intractable.
Everybody is affected by smoking, we all know smokers who have struggled with quitting, and most everyone would agree that smoking is a problem.
What follows is a demonstration of how the methodology employed by root cause analysis can break any issue into its constituent elements, represent cause and effect in a clear, visual way, and thus identify several solutions at several points in that cause/effect chain to reduce levels of risk.
Here, a proactive Cause Map allows us to determine some of the causes of smoking and speculate as to what can be done about it in an objective, rational manner.