If you or someone you know is in crisis, contact the Military Crisis Line at 988 and press 1, or Text 838255. You can also call 911.

It’s Not Just Lung Cancer

When you smoke a cigarette, more than 7,000 chemicals are released, at least 69 of which have been shown to cause cancer. These chemicals cause cancer by damaging cells or changing their DNA. When cancers begin to grow, the harmful chemicals from cigarette smoke limit your body’s ability to kill cancer cells. In the U.S., cigarette smoking is linked to between 80 and 90% of lung cancers. However, your whole body is affected by the chemicals cigarette smoke releases, so the increased cancer risk does not end with your lungs.  

Mouth and Throat Cancer 

When you inhale smoke from a cigarette, the chemicals released by the burning tobacco pass through your mouth and throat. Exposure to these chemicals increases your chances of developing cancer of the head and neck, including the mouth and throat. Compared to people who don’t smoke, people who smoke have 10 times the risk of developing oral cancer.  

Stomach and Colorectal Cancer 

Chemicals in tobacco smoke cause genetic changes in the lining of your stomach, which can lead to the development of stomach cancer. Further along in your digestive system, toxins from cigarette smoke can harm the lining of your intestines, causing cells to grow incorrectly. People who smoke develop more and larger polyps (unusual clumps of cells) in their colons than people who don’t smoke. As a result, smoking can cause up to a 61% increase in your risk of colon cancer.  

Liver Cancer 

Your liver works to filter your blood and break down poisonous substances like alcohol. Because cigarettes increase the number of toxins in your body, smoking puts stress on the liver and makes it more susceptible to cancer. Some of the chemicals in cigarettes are also directly linked to liver cancer including tar, vinyl chloride, nitrosamines, and 4-aminobiphenyl. 

Kidney and Bladder Cancer 

Your kidneys also help filter your blood. Many of the chemicals that enter your body when you smoke cigarettes stay there and damage your kidney cells in ways that make them more likely to become cancerous. These chemicals also enter your bladder. As a result, they can damage your bladder’s lining and increase your risk of bladder cancer. The good news is that if you quit smoking now, after about 10 years your risk of kidney cancer will reach the same level as someone who never smoked. 

Quitting smoking is one of the best decisions you can make for your health, and there are a lot of resources available to help you live a tobacco-free life. If you’re looking to quit smoking, you can start by speaking with your healthcare provider or by checking out the tools and resources here 





If you or someone you know is in crisis, contact the Military Crisis Line at 988 and press 1, or Text 838255. You can also call 911.