Table of Contents
Smoking as a significant risk factor
Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of numerous types of cancer. Cigarette smoke contains more than 4,000 chemicals, none of which is beneficial to health and about 60 of which are known carcinogens (cancer-causing substances). Among the key carcinogens in cigarette smoke are formaldehyde, aromatic amines, arsenic, chromium, phenols, tar, and vinyl chloride.
Though LUNG CANCER is currently the leading cause of death from cancer in the United States, health experts believe it is also the most preventable cancer because of smoking’s role in its development. Cigarette smoking accounts for 85 percent of the 172,500 people in whom doctors diagnose lung cancer each year. It also accounts for significant percentages of BREAST CANCER, BLADDER CANCER, PROSTATE CANCER, STOMACH CANCER, PANCREATIC CANCER, ENDOMETRIAL CANCER (cancer of the UTERUS), ESOPHAGEAL CANCER, oral cancer (cancer of the MOUTH and lips), laryngeal cancer (cancer of the THROAT), and acute myeloid LEUKEMIA (AML).
Cigarette smoking continues to decline among Americans, with only one in four men and one in five women now being regular smokers. Half of all Americans who ever smoked now no longer smoke. Health experts anticipate a corresponding decline in smoking-related cancers over the coming decades.