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Tobacco use is a leading cause of cancer and of death from cancer. People who use tobacco products or who are regularly around environmental tobacco smoke (also called secondhand smoke) have an increased risk of cancer because tobacco products and secondhand smoke have many chemicals that damage DNA.

Tobacco use causes many types of cancer, including cancer of the lung, larynx (voice box), mouth, esophagus, throat, bladder, kidney, liver, stomach, pancreas, colon and rectum, and cervix, as well as acute myeloid leukemia. People who use smokeless tobacco (snuff or chewing tobacco) have increased risks of cancers of the mouth, esophagus, and pancreas.

There is no safe level of tobacco use. People who use any type of tobacco product are strongly urged to quit.  People who quit smoking, regardless of their age, have substantial gains in life expectancy compared with those who continue to smoke. Also, quitting smoking at the time of a cancer diagnosis reduces the risk of death.

For more information about the harms of tobacco use, see:

For help quitting, see:

Also, NCI offers free, confidential information about quitting tobacco by phone and online:

  • The NCI quitline, 1-877-44U-QUIT (1-877-448-7848), is available Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET.
  • Smoking cessation counselors are available online by clicking the "Quitting Smoking" button in the LiveHelp pop-up, Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. ET.