Health Effects of Cigarette Smoking
(updated December 2006)
Smoking harms nearly every organ of the body; causing many diseases and reducing the health of smokers in general.1 The adverse health effects from cigarette smoking account for an estimated 438,000 deaths, or nearly 1 of every 5 deaths, each year in the United States.2,3 More deaths are caused each year by tobacco use than by all deaths from human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), illegal drug use, alcohol use, motor vehicle injuries, suicides, and murders combined.2,4
- Cancer is the second leading cause of death and was among the first diseases casually linked to smoking.1
- Smoking causes about 90% of lung cancer deaths in women and almost 80% of lung cancer deaths in men. The risk of dying from lung cancer is more than 23 times higher among men who smoke cigarettes, and about 13 times higher among women who smoke cigarettes compared with never smokers.1
- Smoking causes cancers of the bladder, oral cavity, pharynx, larynx (voice box), esophagus, cervix, kidney, lung, pancreas, and stomach, and causes acute myeloid leukemia.1
- Rates of cancers related to cigarette smoking vary widely among members of racial/ethnic groups, but are generally highest in African-American men.5
Cardiovascular Disease (Heart and Circulatory System)
- Smoking causes coronary heart disease, the leading cause of death in the United States.1 Cigarette smokers are 2â€“4 times more likely to develop coronary heart disease than nonsmokers.6
- Cigarette smoking approximately doubles a personâ€™s risk for stroke.7,8
- Cigarette smoking causes reduced circulation by narrowing the blood vessels (arteries). Smokers are more than 10 times as likely as nonsmokers to develop peripheral vascular disease.9
- Smoking causes abdominal aortic aneurysm.1
Respiratory Disease and Other Effects
- Cigarette smoking is associated with a tenfold increase in the risk of dying from chronic obstructive lung disease.7 About 90% of all deaths from chronic obstructive lung diseases are attributable to cigarette smoking.1
- Cigarette smoking has many adverse reproductive and early childhood effects, including an increased risk for infertility, preterm delivery, stillbirth, low birth weight, and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).1
- Postmenopausal women who smoke have lower bone density than women who never smoked. Women who smoke have an increased risk for hip fracture than never smokers.10
1. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Health Consequences of Smoking: A Report of the Surgeon General. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health, 2004 [cited 2006 Dec 5]. Available from: http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/sgr/sgr_2004/index.htm.
2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Annual Smoking-Attributable Mortality, Years of Potential Life Lost, and Productivity Lossesâ€”United States, 1997â€“2001. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report [serial online]. 2002;51(14):300â€“303 [cited 2006 Dec 5]. Available from: http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5114a2.htm.
3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Health United States, 2003, With Chartbook on Trends in the Health of Americans. (PDFâ€“225KB) Hyattsville, MD: CDC, National Center for Health Statistics; 2003 [cited 2006 Dec 5]. Available from: http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/hus/tables/2003/03hus031.pdf.
4. McGinnis J, Foege WH. Actual Causes of Death in the United States. Journal of the American Medical Association 1993;270:2207â€“2212.
5. Novotny TE, Giovino GA. Tobacco Use. In: Brownson RC, Remington PL, Davis JR (eds). Chronic Disease Epidemiology and Control. Washington, DC: American Public Health Association; 1998;117â€“148 [cited 2006 Dec 5].
6. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Reducing the Health Consequences of Smokingâ€”25 Years of Progress: A Report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, CDC; 1989. DHHS Pub. No. (CDC) 89â€“8411 [cited 2006 Dec 5]. Available from: http://profiles.nlm.nih.gov/NN/B/B/X/S/.
7. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Tobacco Use Among U.S. Racial/Ethnic Minority Groupsâ€”African Americans, American Indians and Alaska Natives, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, and Hispanics: A Report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, CDC; 1998 [cited 2006 Dec 5]. Available from: http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/sgr/sgr_1998/index.htm.
8. Ockene IS, Miller NH. Cigarette Smoking, Cardiovascular Disease, and Stroke: A Statement for Healthcare Professionals From the American Heart Association. Journal of American Health Association. 1997;96(9):3243â€“3247 [cited 2006 Dec 5].
9. Fielding JE, Husten CG, Eriksen MP. Tobacco: Health Effects and Control. In: Maxcy KF, Rosenau MJ, Last JM, Wallace RB, Doebbling BN (eds.). Public Health and Preventive Medicine. New York: McGraw-Hill;1998;817â€“845 [cited 2006 Dec 5].
10. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Women and Smoking: A Report of the Surgeon General. Rockville, MD: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, CDC; 2001 [cited 2006 Dec 5]. Available from: http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/sgr/sgr_2001/index.htm.
For Further Information
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion
Office on Smoking and Health
Benefits of Quitting
- Smoking harms nearly every organ of the body, causing many diseases and reducing the health of smokers in general.
- Quitting smoking has immediate as well as long-term benefits, reducing risks for diseases caused by smoking and improving health in general.
- The list of diseases caused by smoking has been expanded to include abdominal aortic aneurysm, acute myeloid leukemia, cataract, cervical cancer, kidney cancer, pancreatic cancer, pneumonia, periodontitis, and stomach cancer. These are in addition to diseases previously known to be caused by smoking, including bladder, esophageal, laryngeal, lung, oral, and throat cancers; chronic lung diseases; coronary heart and cardiovascular diseases; as well as reproductive effects and sudden infant death syndrome.
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