Cigarette Facts: Dangers of Smoking

Cigarette facts and information about the dangers of smoking cigarettes can be gleaned from a range of articles that can be found throughout the website. Those that are most closely related are:

This page builds on those articles with additional cigarette facts published by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and other sources that we come across from time to time.

Facts About Cigarettes

  • Cigarettes and other forms of tobacco are addictive.
  • Nicotine is the drug in tobacco that causes addiction.
  • The pharmacologic and behavioural processes that determine tobacco addiction are similar to those that determine addiction to drugs such as heroin and cocaine.
  • Tobacco smoke contains over 4,000 different chemicals. At least 50 are known carcinogens (cause cancer in humans) and many are poisonous.
  • Cigrette smoking causes heart attacks, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), emphysema, and cancer (particularly lung cancer, cancers of the larynx and mouth, and pancreatic cancer).
  • Cigarette smokers generally weigh less (approximately 7 lb less on average) than non-smokers.
  • Stress increases cigarette consumption among smokers.
  • Smoking-material (lighted tobacco products including cigarettes) fires result in more deaths than any other type of residential fire.2
  • One out of four fatal victims of smoking-material fires is not the smoker whose cigarette started the fire.2
  • Tobacco dependence and nicotine addiction can be treated successfully.
  • The World Health Organization estimates that tobacco caused 100 million deaths over the course of the 20th century.
  • The death toll is projected to reach more than 8 million by 2030 if current trends continue.3
  • There could be up to one billion deaths in the 21st century.3
  • Almost half of the world's children breathe air polluted by tobacco smoke, which worsens their asthma conditions and causes dangerous diseases.3
  • The International Labour Organization estimates that at least 200 000 workers die every year due to exposure to smoke at work.3
  • Tobacco kills up to half of its regular users.
  • On average 29% of people around the world smoke tobacco.
  • An estimated 700 million children, or almost half of the world's children, breathe air polluted by tobacco smoke, particularly at home.3

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  1. Hall. J. R. The Smoking-Material Fire Problem. 2007. Available at (accessed 2 August 2009).
  2. WHO, 10 facts about tobacco and second-hand smoke. 2009. Available at (accessed on 3 August 2009).
  3. WHO, 10 facts on the tobacco epidemic and its control. 2009. Available at (accessed on 3 August 2009).