Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States. Cigarette smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke cause an estimated average of 438,000 premature deaths each year in the United States. Of these premature deaths:
- 40 percent are from cancer. Cigarette smoking causes many types of cancer, including cancers of the lung, esophagus, larynx (voice box), mouth, throat, kidney, bladder, pancreas, stomach, and cervix, as well as acute myeloid leukemia.
- 35 percent are from heart disease and stroke.
- 25 percent are from lung disease. This includes chronic lung diseases, bronchitis, emphysema, and asthma.
Smoking harms nearly every organ of the body and diminishes overall health. It causes heart disease, stroke, lung diseases like chronic bronchitis and emphysema, osteoporosis, and cataracts.
Smoking changes the brain. Nicotine is addictive and destructive. According to recent research at the National Institute on Drug Abuse, nicotine addiction caused by smoking produces long-lasting chemical changes in the brain similar to changes that take place when someone uses drugs like heroin or cocaine.