Health Effects of Smoking

Cigarette smoking has been linked to many diseases including multiple cancers, cardiovascular disease and respiratory conditions.


  • Cancer is the second leading cause of death and was among the first diseases causally linked to smoking.
  • Smoking causes about 90% of lung cancer deaths in men and almost 80% of lung cancer deaths in women.
  • Smoking causes acute myeloid leukemia and cancers of the following areas:
    • Bladder
    • Cervix
    • Esophagus
    • Kidney
    • Larynx (voice box)
    • Lung
    • Oral cavity
    • Pancreas
    • Pharynx
    • Stomach
  • Rates of cancers related to cigarette smoking vary widely among members of racial/ethnic groups, but are generally highest in African-American men.

Cardiovascular Disease (Heart & Circulatory System)

  • Smoking causes coronary heart disease, the leading cause of death in the United States. Cigarette smokers are 24 times more likely to develop coronary heart disease than nonsmokers.
  • Cigarette smoking approximately doubles a person’s risk for stroke.
  • 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.

Respiratory Disease & Other Effects

  • Cigarette smoking is associated with a tenfold increase in the risk of dying from chronic obstructive lung disease. About 90% of all deaths from chronic obstructive lung diseases are attributable to cigarette smoking.
  • Cigarette smoking has many adverse reproductive and early childhood effects, including an increased risk for:
    • Infertility
    • Low birth weight
    • Preterm delivery
    • Stillbirth
    • Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)
  • 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.