Smoking Facts

Smoking continues to be the number one cause of disease and death in Canada. Smoking and the use of other tobacco products, including cigars and smokeless tobacco, causes or worsens numerous diseases and conditions. Combustible products also expose nearby people to toxic secondhand smoke. Tragically, each day, thousands of kids pick up a tobacco product for the first time.

  • Smoking is the leading cause of preventable disease and death in Canada., causing over 48,000 deaths per year.

  • Secondhand smoke is a serious health hazard for people of all ages.

  • Cannabis smoke contains many of the same toxins, irritants and carcinogens as tobacco smoke.

  • E-cigarettes are a new tobacco product, and the potential health consequences and safety of these products are unknown.

  • Smokeless tobacco products are addictive, known to cause of cancer and are not a safe alternative to cigarettes.

  • Cigars have many of the same health risks as cigarettes, including causing certain cancers.

  • Hookah smoke contains many of the same toxic components found in cigarette smoke.

  • Nicotine is the addictive drug in tobacco products. Cigarettes, cigars, smokeless tobacco and nearly all e-cigarettes contain nicotine.

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Kay Facts About Smoking

  • Cigarette smoke contains more than 7,000 chemicals, at least 69 of which are known to cause cancer.2 Smoking is directly responsible for approximately 90 percent of lung cancer deaths and approximately 80 percent of deaths caused by chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), including emphysema and chronic bronchitis.1

  • Among adults who have ever smoked daily, 78% had smoked their first cigarette by the time they were 18 years of age, and 94% had by age 21.3

  • Among current smokers, 73% of their diagnosed smoking-related conditions are chronic lung diseases. Even among smokers who have quit, chronic lung disease still accounts for 50% of smoking-related conditions.4

  • Smoking harms nearly every organ in the body, and is a main cause of lung cancer and COPD. It also is a cause of coronary heart disease, stroke and a host of other cancers and diseases.

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  1. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Health Consequences of Smoking - 50 Years of Progress: A Report of the Surgeon General. 2014.

  2. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. How Tobacco Smoke Causes Disease: The Biology and Behavioral Basis for Smoking-Attributable Disease A Report of the Surgeon General. 2010.

  3. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 2017. Analysis by the American Lung Association Epidemiology and Statistics Unit using SPSS software.

  4. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Health Consequences of Smoking: A Report of the Surgeon General, 2004.