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Health Effects

Smoking and the use of other tobacco products, including cigars and smokeless tobacco, causes or worsens numerous diseases and conditions. Combustible products also expose nearby people to toxic secondhand smoke.

Find out more on the health effects of smoking, secondhand smoke, other tobacco products and marijuana.

  • Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in the U.S., causing over 480,000 deaths per year.
  • Secondhand smoke is a serious health hazard for people of all ages, causing more than 41,000 deaths each year.
  • Marijuana smoke contains many of the same toxins, irritants and carcinogens as tobacco smoke.
  • E-cigarettes are a new tobacco product, and the potential health consequences and safety of these products are unknown.
  • Smokeless Tobacco products are addictive, known to cause of cancer and are not a safe alternative to cigarettes.
  • Cigars have many of the same health risks as cigarettes, including causing certain cancers.
  • Hookah smoke contains many of the same toxic components found in cigarette smoke.
  • Nicotine is the addictive drug in tobacco products. Cigarettes, cigars, smokeless tobacco and nearly all e-cigarettes contain nicotine.
  • Menthol is a flavoring that tobacco companies have relied on to make cigarettes more appealing and addicting.

The American Lung Association's Freedom From Smoking® program helps adult smokers quit cigarettes for good through proven skills and techniques. Learn more about our advocacy efforts to reduce tobacco use and exposure to secondhand smoke.

    Webpage Resource

    How Smoking Impacts Your Lung Health [Video]

    Learn more

    Reviewed and approved by the American Lung Association Scientific and Medical Editorial Review Panel. Last reviewed March 6, 2019.

    Page Last Updated: October 23, 2019

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