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Tobacco and Lung Cancer Facts

Tobacco use is the number one preventable cause of illness and death in the U.S. Approximately 21 percent of adults in the U.S. smoke. In Massachusetts, over 16 percent of adults are current cigarette smokers and we are 9th in smoking among the states.

Consequences of smoking include: cancer, heart disease, stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and pregnancy complications.

Smoking causes 90 percent of all lung cancer deaths in men and 80 percent of lung cancer deaths in women in the U.S.


Exposure to secondhand smoke increases a child's risk for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), acute respiratory infections, ear problems, and severe asthma.

Smoking by parents causes respiratory symptoms and slows lung growth in children.

Exposure of adults to secondhand smoke has immediate negative impact on the cardiovascular system and causes coronary heart disease and lung cancer.


Within 20 minutes after you smoke the last cigarette, your body begins a series of changes that continue for years.

20 minutes after quitting - Your heart rate drops

12 hours after quitting - Carbon monoxide level in your blood drops to normal

2 weeks to 3 months after quitting - Your heart attack risk begins to drop and your lung function begins to improve

1 to 9 months after quitting - Your coughing and shortness of breath decrease

1 year after quitting - Your added risk of coronary heart disease is half that of a smoker's.

5 years after quitting - Your stroke risk is reduced to that of a nonsmoker's 5-15 years after quitting

10 years after quitting - Your lung cancer death rate is about half that of a smoker's and your risk of cancers of the mouth, throat, esophagus, bladder, kidney, and pancreas decreases

15 years after quitting - Your risk of coronary artery disease is back to that of a nonsmoker's

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