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The Health Effects of Cigarette Smoking

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Background

Smoking harms nearly every organ of the body. Smoking causes many diseases and reduces the health of smokers in general.

Smoking and Death

Smoking causes death.

  • The adverse health effects from cigarette smoking account for an estimated 443,000 deaths, or nearly one of every five deaths, each year in the United States.
  • 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.
  • Smoking causes an estimated 90% of all lung cancer deaths in men and 80% of all lung cancer deaths in women.
  • An estimated 90% of all deaths from chronic obstructive lung disease are caused by smoking.

Smoking and Increased Health Risks

Compared with nonsmokers, smoking is estimated to increase the risk of

  • coronary heart disease by 2 to 4 times
  • stroke by 2 to 4 times
  • men developing lung cancer by 23 times
  • women developing lung cancer by 13 times
  • dying from chronic obstructive lung diseases (such as chronic bronchitis and emphysema) by 12 to 13 times

Smoking and Cardiovascular Disease

  • Smoking causes coronary heart disease, the leading cause of death in the United States.
  • Cigarette smoking causes reduced circulation by narrowing the blood vessels (arteries) and puts smokers at risk of developing peripheral vascular disease (i.e., obstruction of the large arteries in the arms and legs that can cause a range of problems from pain to tissue loss or gangrene).
  • Smoking causes abdominal aortic aneurysm (i.e., a swelling or weakening of the main artery of the body-the aorta-where it runs through the abdomen).

Smoking and Respiratory Disease

  • Smoking causes lung cancer.
  • Smoking causes lung diseases (e.g., emphysema, bronchitis, chronic airway obstruction) by damaging the airways and alveoli (i.e., small air sacs) of the lungs.

Smoking and Cancer

Smoking causes the following cancers:

  • Acute myeloid leukemia
  • Bladder cancer
  • Cancer of the cervix
  • Cancer of the esophagus
  • Kidney cancer
  • Cancer of the larynx (voice box)
  • Lung cancer
  • Cancer of the oral cavity (mouth)
  • Cancer of the pharynx (throat)
  • Stomach cancer
  • Cancer of the uterus

Smoking and Other Health Effects

Smoking has many adverse reproductive and early childhood effects, including increased risk for

  • infertility
  • preterm delivery
  • stillbirth
  • low birth weight
  • sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)

Smoking is associated with the following adverse health effects

  • Postmenopausal women who smoke have lower bone density than women who never smoked.
  • Women who smoke have an increased risk for hip fracture than women who never smoked.

Source:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion
Office on Smoking and Health
E-mail: tobaccoinfo@cdc.gov
Phone: 1-800-CDC-INFO