The health risks of smoking

Smoking increases the risk of serious diseases such as lung cancer, respiratory disease and heart disease, and for many people, smoking is difficult to quit.

Statistically-based science

Over many years, epidemiological studies have consistently reported a much higher incidence of certain diseases among smokers compared with non-smokers.  The studies also report that the risks are reduced after quitting and that quitting earlier has by far the best effect on reducing risks.

Traditionally, epidemiology has been used to identify associations that point to possible causes of a disease, providing direction for thorough laboratory investigations. Studies leave no doubt that smoking is a cause of serious diseases, including lung cancer, emphysema, chronic bronchitis and heart diseases.

What people should consider about the risks:

  • Smoking is a cause of various serious and fatal diseases.
  • The health risks in groups vary by the amount smoked, being highest in those that smoke for more years and smoke more cigarettes per day.
  • The risks reduce in groups of people who quit smoking, and the reductions increase from quitting earlier.
  • Experts advise no smoking during pregnancy – and we agree.
  • The only way to be certain of avoiding the risks of smoking is to not smoke.

With that understanding, scientists to date, have not been able to determine which smokers will get a smoking-related disease and which will not.  Nor can it be determined whether any individual became ill solely because they smoked.  This is, in part, because all the diseases that have been associated with smoking also occur in life-long non-smokers.

You can read more about the health effects of smoking on our global website here . You can also read more here  about our ongoing research, development and commitment to potentially less harmful products.