There is probably no safe level of smoking. Cigarettes are considered Category One (highest level) carcinogens by the WHO. Nitrosamines have been universally condemned as one of the key carcinogens in cigarette smoke (see also here). Pancreatic cancer and acute myeloid leukemia have been linked to smoking.

The odds of a pack a day smoker getting lung cancer after 20 years is 13 times that of nonsmokers (see also here). But despite higher rates of smoking, Asians have relatively low lung cancer rates, possibly due to higher levels of green tea consumption. Also, in terms of lung cancer, smoking just a single joint of marijuana may be as bad as smoking an entire pack of cigarettes.

Benzene, acrylamide, and aluminum are also found in cigarette smoke. And people who smoke double their risk of dying from heart disease (see also here). Smoking may also speed up aging by eating away at our telomeres (the caps on our DNA), which have been thought of as our “life fuses.” Interestingly enough, though, inadequate fruit and vegetable consumption is responsible for almost as many deaths every year as smoking, according to the World Health Organization.

To resist regulation, the tobacco industry has been accused of funding research to downplay the risks of smoking (see also here). And in other research, failure to screen out smokers among coffee drinkers resulted in the incorrect conclusion that coffee was not healthy.

The presence of smokers in the home and meat intake appears to contribute the most to the incidence of asthma in children. Second hand smoke can put an entire household at risk. But COPD patients who eat more fruits and vegetables see slightly improved lung function over a period of years.

Topic summary contributed by Denise.
To help out on the site, email

Watch videos about tobacco

  • What’s the Best Mouthwash?
    What’s the Best Mouthwash?
    There’s a cheap concoction one can make at home that safely wipes out cavity-forming bacteria on our teeth better than chlorhexidine mouthwash and also reduces their plaque-forming ability.
  • Essential Tremor and Diet
    Essential Tremor and Diet
    Neurotoxins in chicken, such as the beta-carboline alkaloid harman, may explain the link between meat consumption and hand tremor, the most common movement disorder.
  • Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Conflicts of Interest
    Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Conflicts of Interest
    What effect do corporate sponsorships from food companies have on the American Academy of Family Physicians and the Registered Dietitian organization (formally known as the American Dietetic...
  • Taxpayer Subsidies for Unhealthy Foods
    Taxpayer Subsidies for Unhealthy Foods
    What if billions in tax dollars were invested in healthier options rather than given to corporations to subsidize the very foods that are making us sick?
  • Carcinogen Blocking Effects of Turmeric
    Carcinogen Blocking Effects of Turmeric
    Less than a teaspoon a day of turmeric appears to significantly lower the DNA mutating ability of cancer-causing substances.
  • Is Liquid Smoke Flavoring Carcinogenic?
    Is Liquid Smoke Flavoring Carcinogenic?
    Different brands of liquid smoke flavorings have been tested for DNA-damaging potential, p53 activation, and levels of known carcinogens. Smoked foods such as ham, turkey, barbeque chicken, herring,...
  • Convincing Doctors to Embrace Lifestyle Medicine
    Convincing Doctors to Embrace Lifestyle Medicine
    An editorial by the Director of Yale's Prevention Research Center on putting a face on the tragedy of millions suffering and dying from chronic diseases that could be prevented, treated, and reversed...
  • How to Reach the Antioxidant “RDA”
    How to Reach the Antioxidant “RDA”
    Even nine servings of fruits and vegetables a day may not reach the minimum recommended intake of antioxidants if one doesn’t make the right choices.
Page 1 of 612345...Last »