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Tobacco use causes many types of cancer

Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of cancer deaths. It causes at least 12 types of cancer. People who use tobacco or are exposed to secondhand smoke are more likely to get and die from cancer. Cigarette smoking causes 3 in 10 of all cancer deaths.

  • Tobacco smoke has at least 70 chemicals that cause cancer.
  • Exposure to secondhand smoke also causes cancer.
  • States and communities can help by protecting nonsmokers with restrictions on smoking in public places, by supporting comprehensive cancer control programs focused on tobacco, and by making quit-smoking resources more available to those who want to quit.

Quitting smoking at any age can reduce the risk of getting or dying from cancer. Getting screened for cancer can lead to fewer people getting or dying from some tobacco-related cancers.

Contact Information

CDC Media Relations
(404) 639-3286

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Lisa Richardson, MD, MPH

“Tobacco-related cancer affects every community. States and communities can support comprehensive cancer control programs focusing on cancer prevention, education, screening, access to care, and support for cancer survivors.”

“Doctors and nurses can use every visit as an opportunity to promote tobacco-free living. It’s especially important for people to understand that counseling and medications are available for tobacco cessation and fully covered by most insurance plans.”

Lisa Richardson, MD, MPH – Director, Division of Cancer Prevention and Control

Jane Henley, MSPH

“Tobacco-related cancer deaths have declined, but tens of millions of people in the U.S. still smoke, and too many people are dying before their time. We know how to prevent tobacco-related cancers, but we need more urgency in our actions.”

Jane Henley, MSPH – MSPH, Epidemiologist, Division of Cancer Prevention and Control

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