How does tobacco affect my health?

Your Health and Tobacco

At this point, most people know tobacco is really bad for them. Every now and then someone tells us about their superhero uncle who lived to be 112 years old and smoked, but unlikely things like getting struck by lightning also happen. In reality, tobacco use is the leading cause of disability, disease and preventable death in the United States. Every year, we learn more about how devastating tobacco can be to the human body and how damaging secondhand smoke is to those around it.

Smoking causes coronary heart disease, the leading cause of death in the U.S.

Smoking causes lung cancer and lung diseases including COPD, emphysema, bronchitis, and chronic airway obstruction.


Health Effects of Smoking

Smoking also causes the following cancers3

  • 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
Compared to non-smokers, smoking is estimated to increase the risk of:

Coronary heart disease by 2 to 4 times 4 5

Stroke by 2 to 4 times6 7

Men developing lung cancer by 23 times8

Women developing lung cancer by 13 times9

Dying from chronic obstructive lung diseases by 12 to 13 times10 (such as chronic bronchitis and emphysema)

On average, smokers die 13 to 14 years earlier than non-smokers.


What if I Chew or Dip?

Smokeless tobacco products, such as spitting tobacco, dip, chew, snuff and snus, are also harmful to your health and are not a safer alternative to smoking.12 Smokeless tobacco users have:

80 percent higher risk of oral cancer13

60 percent higher risk of pancreatic and esophageal cancer14

Smokeless tobacco use can cause the following cancers:
  • Cancer of the esophagus
  • Cancer of the pharynx (throat)
  • Cancer of the larynx (voice box)
  • Stomach cancer
  • Pancreatic cancer
Spit tobacco also causes leukoplakia, a disease of the mouth characterized by white patches and oral lesions on the cheeks, gums, and/or tongue. Leukoplakia, which can lead to oral cancer, occurs in more than half of all users in the first three years of use. Studies have found that 60 to 78 percent of smokeless tobacco users have oral lesions15,16 For more information on smokeless tobacco, click here»