Smoking and Tobacco Overview
Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable illness and death in the United States. It causes many different cancers as well as chronic lung diseases, such as emphysema and bronchitis, and heart disease.
- Cigarette smoking causes an estimated 443,000 deaths each year, including approximately 49,000 deaths due to exposure to secondhand smoke.
- Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death among both men and women in the United States, and 90 percent of lung cancer deaths among men and approximately 80 percent of lung cancer deaths among women are due to smoking.
- Smoking causes many other types of cancer, including cancers of the throat, mouth, nasal cavity, esophagus, stomach, pancreas, kidney, bladder, and cervix, and acute myeloid leukemia.
- People who smoke are up to six times more likely to suffer a heart attack than nonsmokers, and the risk increases with the number of cigarettes smoked. Smoking also causes most cases of chronic lung disease.
- In 2011, an estimated 19 percent of U.S. adults were cigarette smokers.
Nearly 16 percent of high school students smoke cigarettes.
(See Tobacco Statistics Snapshot for references for this information.)
Free Help to Quit Smoking
Talk with an NCI smoking cessation counselor for help quitting and answers to smoking-related questions in English or Spanish – call toll free within the United States, Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time.
- 1-877-44U-QUIT (1-877-448-7848)
LiveHelp Online Chat
Get information and advice about quitting smoking through a confidential online text chat with an information specialist from NCI’s Cancer Information Service – Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. Eastern Time: LiveHelp
This website offers science-driven tools, information, and support that have been effective in helping smokers quit: Smokefree.gov
Try the Smokefree Women website for information on how to quit smoking. The site covers smoking-related topics that are often important to women, such as weight management and stress, and tells how to contact experts and find other resources.
The Smokefree Teen website was developed specifically to help teen smokers quit and offers tailored information, several social media pages to connect teens with cessation tools, and a free smartphone application.
More Information about Tobacco Use
Where To Get Help When You Decide To Quit Smoking
A fact sheet that provides information about helpful resources for people who have decided to quit smoking.
How To Handle Withdrawal Symptoms and Triggers When You Decide To Quit Smoking
A fact sheet that provides helpful tips related to smoking cessation.
Cigarette Smoking: Health Risks and How to Quit (PDQ®)
[ patient ] [ health professional ]
Expert-reviewed information summary about research and guidelines focused on the prevention and cessation of cigarette smoking.
Smoking in Cancer Care (PDQ®)
[ patient ] [ health professional ]
Expert-reviewed information summary about the influence of continued smoking on cancer treatment and risk of second cancers. Interventions to encourage smoking cessation are also discussed.
Smoking and Tobacco Information
“Light” Cigarettes and Cancer Risk
A fact sheet that answers questions about the health effects of smoking “low-tar,” “mild,” or “light” cigarettes.
Cigar Smoking and Cancer
A fact sheet about the health risks associated with cigar smoking.
Secondhand Smoke and Cancer
A fact sheet that summarizes the studies on the health effects of exposure to environmental (secondhand) tobacco smoke.
NCI’s gateway for information about chewing tobacco and snuff.
Smoking and Tobacco Research and Statistics
Phenotypes and Endophenotypes: Foundations for Genetic Studies of Nicotine Use and Dependence
This NCI monograph presents research findings and a scientific plan for incorporating genetic research into crossdisciplinary studies of nicotine dependence.
The Role of Media in Promoting and Reducing Tobacco Use
This NCI monograph provides a critical, scientific review and synthesis of current evidence regarding the power of the media to encourage and discourage tobacco use.
Resources for Tobacco-Related Statistics
Statistics pertaining to the use of cigarettes or other tobacco products.
Clinical Trials Related to Smoking
National Lung Screening Trial (NLST)
A collection of material about the National Lung Screening Trial (NLST), a research study sponsored by the National Cancer Institute that used low-dose helical CT scans or chest X-ray to screen men and women at risk for lung cancer.
Clinical Trials: Lung Cancer Prevention
Check for trials about lung cancer prevention from NCI’s List of Cancer Clinical Trials now accepting patients.
Clinical Trials: Smoking
Check for trials about smoking from NIH’s ClinicalTrials.gov Registry.
Clinical Trials: Tobacco Use Disorder
Check for trials about tobacco use disorder from NIH’s ClinicalTrials.gov Registry.
Información en español
Información para dejar de fumar
Información y recursos para dejar de fumar del Instituto Nacional del Cáncer.
Smoking (National Cancer Institute)
For more information:
Go to the Smoking and Tobacco health topic.