Smoking causes at least 15 different types of cancer: lung, larynx, oesophagus, oral cavity, nasopharynx, pharynx, bladder, pancreas, kidney, liver, stomach, bowel, cervix, leukaemia, and ovarian cancers.
Incidence of some smoking-related cancers is decreasing thanks largely to decreases in smoking prevalence; these include lung cancer (decreasing in males), oesophageal cancer (decreasing in females), and bladder cancer. However, unless there is further progress in reducing smoking prevalence, these decreases are expected to slow and eventually stop.
Tobacco is the largest preventable cause of death in the world. Smoking caused an estimated 115,000 deaths in the UK in 2015 - around a fifth (21%) of all deaths from all causes. It caused an estimated 43,000 cancer deaths in the UK in 2010 - more than a quarter (27%) of all cancer deaths. Smoking (both active smoking and environmental tobacco smoke) causes 3 in 20 (15%) cancer cases in the UK.
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- World Lung Foundation/American Cancer Society. The Tobacco Atlas. Accessed March 2018.
- Peto R, Lopez A, Boreham J, et al. Mortality from smoking in developed countries 1950-2020. Accessed March 2019.
- Brown KF, Rumgay H, Dunlop C, et al. The fraction of cancer attributable to known risk factors in England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, and the UK overall in 2015. British Journal of Cancer 2018.
About this data
Data is for: UK, 2015, ICD-10 C00-C97 excl. C44.