Smoking and Cancer

Smoking is by far the most important preventable cause of cancer in the world. Smoking accounts for one in four UK cancer deaths, and nearly a fifth of all cancer cases.

Smoking causes more than four in five cases of lung cancer. Lung cancer has one of the lowest survival rates of all cancers, and is the most common cause of cancer death in the UK. Smoking also increases the risk of over a dozen other cancers. The good news is that most of these deaths are preventable, by giving up smoking in time.

The fact is that half of all smokers eventually die from cancer, or other smoking-related illnesses. And a quarter of smokers die in middle age, between 35 and 69.

How does smoking cause cancer?

Tobacco smoke contains more than 70 different cancer causing substances. When you inhale smoke, these chemicals enter your lungs and spread around the rest of your body.

Scientists have shown that these chemicals can damage DNA and change important genes. This causes cancer by making your cells grow and multiply out of control.

Thanks to research, health campaigns and new policies, the number of smokers in the UK has halved in the last 50 years. Because of this, the number of people who die from lung cancer has also halved. Clearly, giving up smoking saves lives

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