Which Diseases Does Tobacco Cause?


Quick Answer

Smoking tobacco in the form of cigarettes causes cardiovascular disease and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, including emphysema and chronic bronchitis. Cigarette smoking is also responsible for most cases of lung cancer, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Smokeless tobacco, such as chewing tobacco and snuff, contributes to oral cancer, stomach cancer and cancer of the esophagus, and may increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, states the American Cancer Society.

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Full Answer

Cigarette smoking causes cancer in many parts of the body, including cancer of the bladder, cervix, pancreas, liver and stomach, states the CDC. Smoking also contributes to the development of type 2 diabetes and, in postmenopausal women, increases the risk of broken bones due to bone loss. Additionally, smoking makes it more difficult for women to become pregnant and increases risks associated with pregnancy, such as preterm delivery and stillbirths. Babies who are born to mothers who smoke cigarettes are also more at risk for sudden infant death syndrome and birth defects such as cleft palate and cleft lip.

Smoking tobacco in the form of cigars or a pipe increases the risk of oral, throat and esophageal cancer by four to 10 times, according to WebMD. It also increases the risk of developing cardiovascular disease by about 30 percent.

Smoking tobacco in a waterpipe, or "vaping," delivers the same mix of toxic chemicals as smoking cigarettes and poses the same health risks, according to the American Society of Clinical Oncology. Sharing a waterpipe also increases the risk of contracting a communicable disease, such as tuberculosis or herpes. The health effects of electronic cigarettes, a relatively new and unregulated form of tobacco use, have not been studied extensively, as of 2015.

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