Lung Cancer and Other Tobacco-Related Diseases

Deaths from cigarette smoking and other tobacco use are the most preventable deaths in the United States. Currently, about 1 in 5 adults smoke.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

  • Nearly 1 in 5 deaths in the United States is smoking related. Smoking and other types of tobacco use cause more deaths than do human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), illegal drug use, alcohol use, motor vehicle injuries, suicides and murders combined.
  • Smoking causes a much-increased risk of lung cancer. Men are 23 times more likely to get lung cancer than are nonsmokers. Women are 13 times more likely to get lung cancer.
  • Lung cancer is not the only cancer caused by tobacco use. Smoking and other types of tobacco use also increase the risk of a number of other cancers, including lip, oral cavity, pharynx, esophagus, pancreas, larynx (voice box), lung, cervix, urinary bladder and kidney cancers.
  • Cancer is just one of many diseases caused by smoking. Smoking causes most cases of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and is responsible for about 9 out of 10 COPD-related deaths. Smokers are also at a significantly increased risk of heart disease and strokes.
  • Smoking during pregnancy is dangerous. A number of childhood diseases and conditions are linked to smoking or secondhand smoke during pregnancy. These include lung cancer, heart disease, emphysema, allergies and asthma.

The Mayo Clinic Nicotine Research Program is committed to reducing this high burden of death and disability by finding the most effective ways to prevent tobacco use and help people quit.