Smoking can cause—and provide ongoing support to—cancer and other diseases. Secondhand smoke and third hand smoke are also significant threats to quality of life and survival.
Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of preventable disease and death in the United States, accounting for more than 480,000 deaths every year, or 1 of every 5 deaths.1In 2015, about 15 of every 100 U.S. adults aged 18 years or older (15.1%) currently* smoked cigarettes. This means an estimated 36.5 million adults in the United States currently smoke cigarettes.2 More than 16 million Americans live with a smoking-related disease.2 Current smoking has declined from nearly 21 of every 100 adults (20.9%) in 2005 to about 15 of every 100 adults (15.1%) in 2015.2
Secondhand smoke and third hand smoke also provides harm, compromising health and supporting disease, including to death.
Secondhand smoke (also called environmental tobacco smoke, involuntary smoking, and passive smoking) is the combination of “sidestream” smoke (the smoke given off by a burning tobacco product) and “mainstream” smoke (the smoke exhaled by a smoker)7, 8, 9, 10. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. National Toxicology Program, the U.S. Surgeon General, and the International Agency for Research on Cancer have classified secondhand smoke as a known human carcinogen, which is a cancer-causing agent8, 10, 11.
More than 7000 chemicals are created by secondhand smoke, and at least 250 are known to be harmful. Research indicates that hundreds are toxic, and about 70 can cause cancer.3,4,5,6 Some studies demonstrate increases in cancer, heart disease, and other conditions. Learn more in CDC’s Health Effects of Secondhand Smoke.
Third hand smoke is an invisible, toxic combination of gases and particles that clings to a smoker’s hair, clothing, furniture, carpeting, and other items. The residue of third hand smoke contains heavy metals, carcinogens, and radioactive materials.
Quit the habit of smoking, and being exposed to smoke, to improve quality of life and cancer survival.