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Health Effects of Cigarette Smoking

Fact sheet

February 2004


The adverse health effects from cigarette smoking account for 440,000 deaths, or nearly 1 of every 5 deaths, each year in the United States.1,2 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.1,3

Cancer

  • The risk of dying from lung cancer is more than 22 times higher among men who smoke cigarettes, and about 12 times higher among women who smoke cigarettes compared with never smokers.4
     
  • Cigarette smoking increases the risk for many types of cancer, including cancers of the lip, oral cavity, and pharynx; esophagus; pancreas; larynx (voice box); lung; uterine cervix; urinary bladder; and kidney.5
     
  • Rates of cancers related to cigarette smoking vary widely among members of racial/ethnic groups, but are generally highest in African-American men.6
     

Cardiovascular Disease (Heart and Circulatory System)

  • Cigarette smokers are 2–4 times more likely to develop coronary heart disease than nonsmokers.5
     
  • Cigarette smoking approximately doubles a person’s risk for stroke.4,7
     
  • 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.8
     

Respiratory Disease and Other Effects

  • Cigarette smoking is associated with a ten-fold increase in the risk of dying from chronic obstructive lung disease.4 About 90% of all deaths from chronic obstructive lung diseases are attributable to cigarette smoking.4,9
     
  • 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).9
     
  • 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.9
     

References

1 CDC. Annual smoking-attributable mortality, years of potential life lost, and economic costs—United States, 1995–1999. (PDF Image PDF - 225k) Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 2002;51(14):300–303. Accessed: February 2004.
 
2 CDC. Health United States, 2003, With Chartbook on Trends in the Health of Americans. (PDF Image PDF - 119k) Hyattsville, MD: CDC, National Center for Health Statistics; 2003. Accessed: February 2004.
 
3 McGinnis J, Foege WH. Actual causes of death in the United States. Journal of the American Medical Association 1993;270:2207–2212.
 
4 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. p.117–148.
 
5 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Reducing the Health Consequences of Smoking — 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) 89-8411. Accessed: February 2004.
 
6 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Tobacco Use Among U.S. Racial/Ethnic Minority Groups—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. Accessed: February 2004.
 
7 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):3243–3247.
 
8 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. p.817–845.
 
9 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. Accessed: February 2004.
 

Note: The next update of this fact sheet is scheduled for February 2005. More recent information may be available at the CDC'S Office on Smoking and Health Web site: http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco.

For Further Information

Office on Smoking and Health
National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Mailstop K-50
4770 Buford Hwy., N.E.
Atlanta, GA 30341-3717
770-488-5705
http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco

Media Inquiries: Contact the CDC's Office on Smoking and Health press line at 770-488-5493.


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This page last reviewed July 30, 2004

United States 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