Health and Medicine

Health Hazards and Risks

What health risks are associated with smoking?

Smoking harms nearly every organ in the body. Tobacco smoking, especially cigarettes, is linked to lung cancer, which is the most common cause of cancer death in most countries. Eighty-seven percent of lung cancer cases are caused by cigarette smoking. 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. For each pack of cigarettes smoked per day, life expectancy is decreased by seven years. A two-pack-a-day smoker will likely die at 60, compared to 74 for a nonsmoker in the United States. There is an increased incidence of other lung diseases, heart and blood vessel diseases, stroke, and cataracts in smokers. Women who smoke face increased problems with infertility, preterm delivery, stillbirths, babies born with low birth weight, or having a baby die from sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).


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