Cancers caused by smoking

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

Cancer is a major cause of death and illness in Ireland and many other countries. Your chances of getting the cancers listed below are higher (in some cases much higher) if you smoke.

Lung cancer

Lung cancer is one of the most common cancers in Ireland.  In 2011, 2,175 people developed lung cancer and 90% of these cases are directly caused by smoking.

It is not only smokers who are affected. Non-smokers who breathe in other people’s tobacco smoke, or ‘second-hand’ smoke, have an increased risk of lung cancer. Children and teenagers exposed to second-hand smoke may be particularly at risk of lung cancer later in life as well as have an increased risk of asthma and other respiratory problems.

Mouth, head and neck cancer

Smoking is a major cause of cancers of the oral cavity (tongue, lips, gums) and mouth, head and neck cancer. (Find out more about mouth, head and neck cancer.)

Cancer of the stomach

When you inhale cigarette smoke, you will always swallow some of it without meaning to. Consequently, the risk of developing stomach cancer is higher among smokers.(Find out more about cancer of the stomach.)

Cancer of the pancreas

Smoking is at least a contributory and may be a causal factor in the development of cancer of the pancreas (Find out more about cancer of the pancreas).

Cancer of the kidney

Smoking is also at least a contributory and may be a causal factor in the development of cancer of the kidney (Find out more about cancer of the kidney).

Cancer of the womb (uterus)

Smoking increases the risk of developing this type of cancer. (Find out more about cancer of the womb.)

Cervical cancer

Women who smoke have a greater risk of developing cancer of the cervix. (Find out more about cancer of the cervix.)

Cancer of the bladder

Smoking has been identified as a risk factor for cancer of the bladder. (Find out more about cancer of the bladder.)

Cancer of the colon

Recent studies show that cigarette smoking can lead to colon cancer, also known as bowel or rectal cancer. (Find out more about cancer of the colon.)

Myeloid leukaemia

Smokers have an increased risk of developing myeloid leukaemia. (Find out more about myeloid leukaemia.)

More information

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