Tobacco use is one of the leading causes of cancer and cancer deaths worldwide. It can cause cancer in nearly any part of the body but is most commonly associated with cancers of the lungs, mouth, throat, larynx (voice box), esophagus, pancreas, bladder, stomach, and cervix. Here’s an overview of how tobacco leads to cancer, the types of cancers it can cause, and some statistics to illustrate its impact.
1.Chemicals in Tobacco Smoke: Tobacco smoke contains over 7,000 chemicals, with at least 250 known to be harmful, and more than 69 of these chemicals are known to cause cancer. These carcinogens damage the DNA in cells, leading to mutations that can result in cancer
2.Types of Tobacco Products: Cigarettes, cigars, pipe tobacco, snuff, and chewing tobacco all contain these carcinogens. Secondhand smoke, also known as passive smoke, exposes non-smokers to these dangerous chemicals, increasing their risk of developing lung cancer and other diseases.
Lung Cancer: The most common cancer caused by tobacco use. Smoking is responsible for about 85% of all lung cancer cases.
Oral Cancers: Including cancer of the mouth, throat, and larynx. Tobacco use, especially when combined with heavy alcohol consumption, significantly increases the risk.
Esophageal Cancer: Tobacco smoke damages the cells of the esophagus, leading to increased cancer risk.
Pancreatic Cancer: Smoking is a major risk factor for pancreatic cancer, one of the most deadly forms of cancer.
Bladder and Kidney Cancer: Chemicals in tobacco smoke are absorbed by the lungs and then filtered by the kidneys, where they can damage the bladder and kidney cells.
Stomach and Colorectal Cancer: Smoking increases the risk of cancers of the stomach and colorectal area, likely due to carcinogens in the smoke that are swallowed.
Global Burden: Tobacco use causes more than 8 million deaths per year worldwide. A significant portion of these deaths is due to cancer caused by smoking.
Preventable Deaths: Most of these cancers are preventable, as they are directly linked to tobacco use. Quitting smoking at any age can significantly reduce the risk of developing cancer.
Quitting smoking is the most effective way to reduce the risk of cancer related to tobacco use. Various resources and support systems, such as nicotine replacement therapy, prescription medications, and counseling, can help individuals quit smoking. Public health campaigns and policies, like smoking bans in public places and taxes on tobacco products, also play a crucial role in reducing tobacco use and its associated health risks.