Smoking cigarettes increases your risk of cancer. Quitting smoking is your best choice for lowering your risk.
We know that smoking cigarettes increases your risk of cancer. But how many years of smoking does it take to develop cancer?
In short, any amount of smoking — for any length of years, no matter how much you smoke — seems to increase your risk of developing cancer, especially lung cancer. Smoking can also cause other health issues, such as cardiovascular problems.
Although smoking more cigarettes increases your risk of developing cancer, it’s difficult to quantify how long you have to smoke to get cancer. Quitting smoking cigarettes can help lower your risk of health issues.
There’s very little data on how long you have to smoke to get cancer. But the longer and the more you smoke, the higher your chances of developing cancer. When you quit smoking, your risk of developing cardiovascular diseases and cancers gradually decreases.
When it comes to smoking, your risk of developing cancer increases not just based on how long you smoke but on how much you smoke. The more cigarettes you smoke per day, the higher your chances of developing cancer.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), up to
How many cigarettes do you need to smoke a day to get cancer?
There’s no “safe” number of cigarettes you can smoke per day. Any number of cigarettes can increase your risk of developing cancer.
But the more you smoke, the more likely you are to get cancer. A
In the study, only 1% of people who’d never smoked developed lung cancer by age 80. The study found that the risk of developing lung cancer increases to 14% if you smoke cigarettes.
If you smoke one to five cigarettes per day, your risk is around 7.7%, and if you smoke more than 35 cigarettes per day, you’ll have a 26.4% chance of developing lung cancer by age 80.
Bear in mind that you don’t need to smoke in order to develop smoking-related cancers. Secondhand smoke also increases your risk of developing lung cancer.
Lung cancer isn’t the only kind of cancer caused by smoking cigarettes.
- cervical cancer
- colon and rectal cancer
- esophageal cancer
- larynx cancer
- mouth and throat cancer
- stomach cancer
That’s not to mention the other health risks of smoking. Smoking cigarettes can also
- adult onset asthma
- chronic bronchitis
- chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
Smoking can also cause:
- cardiovascular issues (including high blood pressure and blood clots, possibly leading to stroke or heart attacks)
- fertility issues
- gum disease
- insulin resistance
- loss of bone density
- problems with vision (including glaucoma, cataracts, and age-related macular degeneration)
- type 2 diabetes
If you quit smoking, your risk of developing most of these cancers decreases between
According to the CDC, cigarette smokers are
Bear in mind that this statistic is only about lung cancer. Smoking can increase your risk of other cancers as well.
Life expectancy of people who smoke
According to the
It’s not possible to give an age estimate because your life expectancy will depend on many other factors.
Nicotine is an addictive substance in tobacco.
Most cancer-causing chemicals in tobacco aren’t found in nicotine, and most experts agree that nicotine itself doesn’t cause cancer. However, a research study from 2020 suggested that nicotine might cause cancer and make cancer treatment less successful.
Tobacco-free nicotine products, including nicotine patches, are generally considered safer to use. But nicotine still has health risks and has a potential for dependence.
In short, it’s not clear whether vaping can increase your risk of lung cancer. There’s little evidence that vaping can cause lung cancer, but there are also very few long-term studies on vaping.
The nicotine in vaping may not cause cancer, but flavorings and chemicals are often added to vapes. These chemicals can include formaldehyde and heavy metals, both of which can damage your lungs.
One flavoring that’s quite concerning is diacetyl, which has been linked to a lung disease called bronchiolitis obliterans. This condition is also called popcorn lung because diacetyl is used to make buttery flavors in microwave popcorn. It’s also used to make creamy, dairy-like e-cigarette flavors like vanilla, coconut, and custard.
Even if you use nicotine-free vapes, you might be exposed to diacetyl, formaldehyde, and other potentially harmful chemicals. To be safe, it’s probably best to avoid vaping if you can.
Smoking cigarettes — any amount, for any length of time — increases your risk of cancer as well as other health conditions. Research suggests that the more you smoke, the more likely your health will be affected, but it’s difficult to quantify how many years of smoking it takes to cause cancer.
Quitting smoking reduces many of the health risks associated with cigarettes. Learn about smoking cessation and consider speaking with a doctor. They can point you to prescription and nonprescription medications to help you quit.