The main way that smoking causes cancer is by damaging our DNA, including key genes that protect us against cancer.
Many of the chemicals found in cigarettes have been shown to cause DNA damage, including benzene, polonium-210, benzo(a)pyrene and nitrosamines.
Smoking accounts for more than 1 in 4 UK cancer deaths, and nearly a fifth of all cancer cases.
Chemicals in cigarette smoke enter our blood stream and can then affect the entire body.
There’s no such thing as a safe way to use tobacco.
Filters and low-tar cigarettes make little difference – your lung cancer risk is not lower compared to smokers of average cigarettes.
The serious damaging effects of smoking cannot be cancelled out by leading an otherwise healthy lifestyle, like keeping fit and eating healthily.
The best way to reduce your risk is to give up smoking completely.
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This is why smoking causes so many diseases, including at least 14 types of cancer, heart disease and various lung diseases.