Cancer and Commercial Tobacco

Smoking commercial tobacco can cause not only lung cancer but also leukemia and cancer of the bladder, oral cavity, pharynx, larynx (voice box), esophagus, cervix, kidney, pancreas and stomach.

  • Cancer is the second leading cause of death.
  • More deaths are caused each year by commercial tobacco use than by ALL DEATHS from human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), illegal drug use, alcohol use, motor vehicle injuries, suicides, and murders COMBINED.
  • Cancer was among the first diseases linked to smoking commercial tobacco.
  • Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death, and it is primarily caused by commercial cigarette smoking.
  • Smoking commercial tobacco causes about 90 percent of lung cancer deaths in women and almost 80 percent of lung cancer deaths in men.
  • The risk of smoking-caused cancers increases with the number of commercial cigarettes smoked and the number of years of smoking, and it decreases after quitting completely.
  • Cancer-causing chemicals (called carcinogens) in commercial tobacco smoke damage important genes that control the growth of cells, causing them to grow abnormally or to reproduce too rapidly.
  • Commercial cigarette smoking is a major cause of esophageal cancer in the United States.
  • The combination of smoking commercial tobacco and alcohol consumption causes most laryngeal cancer cases.
  • Commercial cigarette, pipe and cigar smoking increases the risk of developing mouth cancers.


U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Health Consequences of Smoking: A Report of the Surgeon General. U.S. 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, 2006. Available from: