The health risks of smoking

Half of all smokers die from smoking related diseases. 

It is estimated that, in 2013, 5,950 premature deaths can be attributed to smoking and exposure to second-hand smoke, along with over 200,000 hospital admissions.

The breakdown is as follows:

  • Cancers - 44%
  • Circulatory diseases - 30%
  • Respiratory diseases - 25%
  • Digestive diseases - 1%

Find out more

There are so many risks associated with smoking. Find out lots more about the health risks.

Secondhand smoke affects everyone but can be increasingly harmful to pregnant women and children. Find out more about secondhand smoke.

Smoking is a prime cause of lung cancer but is also a known risk factor in several other cancers. Find out more about the cancers caused by smoking.

Tobacco smoke contains around 7,000 chemicals. Many of these are poisonous and over 60 are known to be cancer causing (carcinogenic). Find out more about what's in a cigarette.

References on figures related to smoking and cancer: Howell F R Shelley E (2011). Mortality attributable to tobacco use in Ireland. The Faculty of Public Health Medicine RCPI Winter meeting; Dublin.  

More information

Online Lung Health Checker

For information and support on how to quit smoking, call the HSE Quit Team on 1800 201 203 or visit

Date Last Revised: 
Wednesday, February 3, 2016