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Tobacco-Related Cancers Fact Sheet

  • Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in the United States for both men and women. (Source: Cancer Facts & Figures 2014)
  • Lung cancer is the most preventable form of cancer death in the world. (Source: Cancer Facts & Figures 2014)
  • Lung cancer estimates for 2014 (Source: Cancer Facts & Figures 2014):
  • New cases of lung cancer: 224,210
    Males: 116,000
    Females: 108,210
  • Deaths from lung cancer: 159,260
    Males: 86,930
    Females: 72,330
  • Women smokers are 25.7 times more likely than women who never smoked to develop lung cancer. For men smokers, it’s 25 times the risk of men who never smoked. (Source: US Surgeon General Report 2014)
  • Besides lung cancer, tobacco use also increases the risk for cancers of the mouth, lips, nose and sinuses, larynx (voice box), pharynx (throat), esophagus (swallowing tube), stomach, pancreas, kidney, bladder, uterus, cervix, colon/rectum, ovary (mucinous), and acute myeloid leukemia. (Source: Cancer Facts & Figures 2014)
  • In the United States, tobacco use is responsible for nearly 1 in 5 deaths; this equals about 480,000 early deaths each year. (Source: Cancer Facts & Figures 2014; and US Surgeon General Report 2014)
  • Tobacco use accounts for at least 30% of all cancer deaths, causing 87% of lung cancer deaths in men, and 70% of lung cancer deaths in women. (Source: Cancer Facts & Figures 2014)
  • Cigarette use has declined dramatically since the release of the first US Surgeon General’s Report on Smoking and Health in 1964. Even so, about 20.5% of men and 15.8% of women still smoked cigarettes in 2012, with about 78% of these people smoking daily. (Source: CDC, Current cigarette smoking among adults – United States, 2005–2012, 2014)
  • Cigarette smoking among adults age 18 and older who smoked 30 cigarettes or more a day went down significantly from 2005 to 2012 – from 12.6% to 7.0%. But still, more than 42 million American adults smoke cigarettes. (Source: CDC, Current cigarette smoking among adults – United States, 2005–2012, 2014)
  • Cigars contain many of the same carcinogens (cancer-causing agents) found in cigarettes. Between 2000 and 2011, sales of small cigars had decreased by 65%, while large cigar sales increased 233%. (Note: the definition of large cigar changed in 2009, so that much smaller cigars are legally defined as “large cigars.”) Cigar smoking causes cancers of the lung, mouth, throat, larynx (voice box), esophagus (swallowing tube), and probably the pancreas. (Source: CDC, Consumption of Cigarettes and Combustible Tobacco – United States, 2000–2011, 2012; Office of the Inspector General, Dept. of the Treasury Audit Report, December 21, 2011)
  • Little cigars are about the same size and shape as cigarettes and come in packs of 20, but unlike cigarettes, they can be candy or fruit flavored. In most states, they cost much less than cigarettes, making them far more affordable – especially to youth. A 2012 CDC survey found that more high school boys had smoked cigars (16.7%) than smoked cigarettes (16.3%) in the past 30 days. About 8% of high school girls had smoked a cigar in the past month. (Sources: Cancer Facts & Figures 2014; CDC, Tobacco Product Use Among Middle and High School Students – United States, 2011 and 2012, 2013)
  • Among first-time tobacco users, nearly 2.7 million smoked cigars, while 2.3 million smoked cigarettes (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 2013)
  • In 1997, nearly half (48%) of male high school students and more than one-third (36%) of female students reported using some form of tobacco – cigarettes, cigars, or smokeless tobacco – in the past month. This went down to 23% for male students and 18% for female students in 2012, and included electronic cigarettes, snus (a type of smokeless tobacco), dissolvable tobacco, and other types that weren’t even around in 1997 – along with cigars, cigarettes, and older types of tobacco. (Sources: Cancer Facts & Figures 2010; CDC, Tobacco Product Use Among Middle and High School Students United States, 2011 and 2012, 2013)
  • Each year, about 3,400 non-smoking adults die of lung cancer as a result of breathing secondhand smoke. Each year secondhand smoke also causes about 42,000 deaths from heart disease in people who are not current smokers. (Source: Cancer Facts & Figures 2014)
  • Among adults age 18 and older, about 20% of men and 3% of women have ever used smokeless tobacco. Nationwide, about 11% of US male high school students and about 2% of female high school students were using chewing tobacco, snuff, or dip in 2012. (Sources: Cancer Facts & Figures 2014)
  • Smokeless tobacco products are a major source of cancer-causing nitrosamines and a known cause of human cancer. They increase the risk of developing cancer of the mouth and throat, esophagus (swallowing tube), and pancreas. Smokeless tobacco kills fewer people than smoking, but using any form of tobacco harms health and can cause death. (Source: Cancer Prevention & Early Detection Facts and Figures 2010)
  • Between 2009 and 2012 smoking-attributable economic costs were between $289 and $332.5 billion each year in the United States, including $132.5 to 175.9 billion for direct medical care of adults. (Source: US Surgeon General Report 2014)


Last Medical Review: 02/21/2014
Last Revised: 02/21/2014