What types of cancer are caused by cigarette smoking?

The 1982, the U.S. Surgeon General’s report, entitled The Health Consequences of Smoking: Cancer, stated that "Cigarette smoking is the major single cause of cancer mortality [death] in the United States." This statement is as true today as it was then, with smoking causing an estimated 30% of all cancer deaths in the United States.

Cigarette smoking causes the following cancers:

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

Cigarette smoking is the number-one cause of lung cancer. Lung cancer also can be caused by using other types of tobacco (such as pipes or cigars), breathing secondhand smoke, or being exposed to substances such as asbestos or radon.

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death among both men and women in the United States, and 90% of lung cancer deaths among men and approximately 80% of lung cancer deaths among women are due to smoking.

In addition, nonsmokers who are exposed to secondhand smoke in their homes or at work increase their risk for lung cancer by 20% to 30%.

Some forms of smokeless tobacco cause oral cancer and cancer of the pharynx

For cancers caused by smoking, the risk generally increases with the number of cigarettes smoked and the number of years the person has smoked and generally decreases after quitting completely.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.