14 December 2005

Cancer - effects of smoking

Half a century ago, the causal link between lung cancer and tobacco smoking was established. Since then a wealth of information has been assembled on the tragic health consequences of tobacco consumption and the highly addictive nature of nicotine which makes smoking cessation so difficult.

Today, tobacco consumption is recognised as single greatest cause of preventable illness and early death, with more and more people dying each year from smoking-related diseases. Around 90% of lung cancer cases are caused by tobacco smoking and, in addition, tobacco smoking can also cause cancers of the following sites: upper aerodigestive tract (oral cavity, nasal cavity, nasal sinuses, pharynx, larynx and oesophagus), pancreas, stomach, liver, lower urinary tract (renal pelvis and bladder), kidney, uterine cervix and myeloid leukaemia.

Overall, smoking is estimated to be responsible for approximately 30% of cancer deaths in developed countries.

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