Tobacco continues to be the number one cause of preventable death in this country killing more than 440,000 people each year. That is more deaths than AIDS, alcohol, car crashes, suicides, illegal drug use and murders combined. Many of those deaths are caused by cancers that are attributable to tobacco.
124,000 deaths from lung cancer each year (87% of all lung cancers are attributable to smoking)
The risk of dying from lung cancer is about 12 times higher among women who smoke cigarettes and more than 22 times higher among men who smoke cigarettes.
3000 lung cancer deaths each year are attributable to secondhand smoke.
Since 1987, lung cancer has been the leading cause of cancer-related deaths in women. In 2004, it is projected that 25% of female deaths due to cancer will be from lung cancer and 15% will be from breast cancer.
Spit tobacco increases the risk for developing oral cancer. Long term users of spit tobacco have a 50 times greater risk of developing cheek and gum cancers.
There is no doubt that tobacco use increases the risk of developing and dying from cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, if children did not start using tobacco and all adults stopped, nearly one-third of all cancer deaths would be prevented and millions of family members and friends would avoid the sickness and untimely death of a loved one. In addition, billions of dollars could be saved.
Stopping tobacco use, or never starting, is the single most important action that can be taken to reduce cancer in the United States. For more information, contact the following organizations: