Smokers and non-smokers can usually agree on one thing: smoking is dangerous to your health. Whether you regularly smoke or have never smoked in your life, there is no doubt that you know how it negatively affects the body. 

Some individuals will argue over the “safe” amount of cigarettes to smoke or opt for “safer” cigarettes. Many smokers and non-smokers wonder: how many years of smoking causes cancer? The reality is that there is no such thing as a “safe” cigarette, and each next cigarette will increase your chance of developing a smoking-related illness or cancer. 

What kinds of cancer are caused by smoking?

Large stack of new cigarettes

Whether you are a smoker or a non-smoker, you may be under the impression that lung cancer is the only life-threatening disease that directly results from smoking. However, you will be surprised to know that many types of cancer can develop from smoking such as:

  • Blood cancer
  • Stomach cancer
  • Kidney cancer
  • Colon cancer
  • Lung cancer
  • Prostate cancer
  • Over 100 other types of cancer

The risk of getting lung cancer from smoking has increased over time even though people smoke less overall. The reason for this is likely due to the additional chemicals and additives that get added to modern cigarettes.

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How does smoking increase the risk of disease?

In addition to making you more susceptible to an array of cancers and other diseases, smoking will also damage your body’s immune system. Once your immune system is weak, your body cannot fight off cancer cells that will continue to spread rapidly. If this information wasn’t hard enough to read already, studies have shown that nine out of every ten deaths related to lung cancer are caused by smoking. 

What are the symptoms of cancer?

You should get cancer screenings regularly if you are in an at-risk age group. It would be best if you trusted a medical professional to perform an accurate cancer screening and diagnosis. However, some of the noticeably common symptoms of cancer are:

  • A lump in any part of the body that thickens over time
  • A sore throat that does not heal over time
  • Loss or gaining of weight for no known reason
  • A continuing or worsening cough, otherwise known as smoker’s lungs
  • Discomfort during eating
  • Changes in bladder or bowel activity
  • Feeling constantly weak or very tired

What are the stage 4 lung cancer symptoms of dying?

Research has shown that, generally, a smoker’s risk of developing lung cancer starts to increase at the age of 40. By the time the smoker reaches the age of 70, the risk of developing cancer skyrockets. The best way to avoid developing lung cancer or other smoking-related illness is to not smoke in the first place or quit smoking as soon as possible. Some late stage symptoms may include:

  • Decreased appetite
  • Confusion
  • Excessive need to sleep or rest
  • Loss of interest in activities
  • Cool skin that may turn blue
  • Slowed or noisy breathing
  • Restlessness
  • Loss of bladder and bowel control
  • Drifting in and out of consciousness
  • Seeing or hearing things that are not there

Does nicotine cause cancer?

Man smoking cigarette

The bottom line of smoking-related cancer is that your risk is shallow if you are a non-smoker. If you’re a current smoker, your risk of developing smoking-related cancer or disease is high. Even if you have recently quit smoking, your risk is lower than an active smoker and higher than that of a non-smoker. 

A French study of smokers recently found that of the smokers studied, 98% declared an understanding that smoking causes cancer. However, 46% of the smokers claimed that they believe cancer develops by smoking at a higher rate than they already engage. 

The takeaway from this study is that, while almost all smokers claimed to know that smoking causes cancer, about half of those smokers did not think they could develop cancer with how much they are currently smoking. 

The harsh reality is that every cigarette, regardless of frequency or variety, will increase the chance of developing lung cancer or smoking-related disease. 

Time for a health assessment? A scan may be a good option for you. Contact us today to learn more about what we offer.

Does vaping cause lung cancer?

E-cigarettes, or vaping, are becoming a widely-used replacement for smoking traditional cigarettes and have boomed in popularity in recent years. Vapes or e-cigarettes deliver nicotine in a vapor form that you breathe into the lungs as opposed to cigarettes that contain a multitude of additional chemicals and deliver nicotine via smoke inhaled into the lungs. 

While research on vaping is still being gathered and analyzed, experts learn toward caution and warn individuals to avoid starting to vape. To date, there is no definite link between vaping and lung cancer. However, experts warn of a list of possible conditions and illnesses that can be caused by vaping, including:

  • A condition called Bronchiolitis obliterans, otherwise known as “popcorn lung”
  • Vaping-induced Lipoid Pneumonia
  • Spontaneous Pneumothorax, or spontaneous collapse of the lung after vaping

While there is no steadfast and direct research on the potential dangers of vaping, there are, however, years of research regarding the health impacts of traditional smoking. If concern for your health is a top priority, the cessation of vaping and smoking altogether is your best plan to avoid developing smoking-related illnesses and cancers.

In Conclusion

Despite decades of research, some people claim that smoking a certain amount of cigarettes for a certain amount of years will allow them to avoid developing smoking-induced illnesses or cancers. However, by now, you hopefully understand that there is no “safe” cigarette or number of cigarettes over a lifetime. 

Each cigarette that you smoke will increase the risk of developing lung cancer or any other kind of related illness. Even with vaping and e-cigarettes, these devices are not entirely safe. If you still find yourself wondering how many years of smoking causes cancer, the answer is ambiguous at best. Whether you smoke occasionally or partake in habitual chain-smoking, opting to quit smoking that pack or never start smoking will be your best avenue to keep the risk of cancers and other diseases low. 

Check Your Lung Health

Getting a lung scan is one way to see where the health of your lungs is at and can provide early detection of lung cancer growth. Regular check-ups and prioritizing your health is the best way to stay on top of your health. For more information on disease prevention or to schedule a lung scan, contact our expert team today.


Broderick, S. Johns Hopkins Medicine. What Does Vaping Do to Your Lungs? (2019) Care Through the Final Days.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Smoking and Cancer.

Moffitt Cancer Center. (18 July 2022) How Long Do You Have to Smoke to Get Lung Cancer?

Peretti‐Watel, P. et al. (2007) National Library of Medicine. Smoking too few cigarettes to be at risk? Smokers’ perceptions of risk and risk denial, a French survey.