Effects of Smoking

Tobacco smoke is a complex mixture of toxic and carcinogenic chemicals and particulate matter. A review article by Talhout et al. (Int J Environ Res Public Health. Feb 2011; 8(2): 613–628.) concluded that emission levels of 98 components in mainstream smoke constituted a human inhalation risk with the potential to contribute to the many established adverse health effects associated with smoking.

Premature Death

The CDC web page on Health Effects of Cigarette Smoking states that

Table - Premature Deaths Caused by Smoking and Exposure to Secondhand Smoke from 1965 to 2014

Cause of Death

Total Number

Smoking-related cancers


Cardiovascular and metabolic diseases


Pulmonary disease


Conditions related to pregnancy and birth


Residential fires


Lung cancers from exposure to secondhand smoke


Coronary heart disease from secondhand smoke




Source: CDC, National Center for Chroic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health.

Modified from the Executive Summary of The Health Consequences of Smoking - 50 Years of Progress:

A Report of the Surgeon General, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2014

Cardiovascular Disease

Regular smoking has the following effects:

Respiratory Disease


Tobacco smoke contains a number of established carcinogens, and smoking is associated with an increased risk of cancer throughout the body, including:

Smoking can cause cancer almost anywhere in your body:

For more information on the causes of cancer, see the online learning module on The Biology of Cancer. Page 5 of the module focuses specifically on the evolution of lung cancer.

Reproductive Problems

Smoking decreases fertility in women and men, and women who smoke during pregnancy have an increased risk of the following::

Decreased Bone Density

Postmenopausal women who smoke have lower bone density and increased risk of hip fracture compared to women who never smoked.


Effects of Active Smoking

Adapted from http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/fact_sheets/health_effects/effects_cig_smoking/

Effects of Environmental Tobacco Smoke

Adapted from http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/fact_sheets/health_effects/effects_cig_smoking/

Link to more information: The Health Consequences of Smoking—50 Years of Progress: A Report of the Surgeon General, 2014.