Canadian Cancer Society logo
You are here: 

Smoking and cancer

The single most important thing you can do to reduce your risk of cancer is to live smoke-free.

Smoking and lung cancer

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in Canada. It is estimated that smoking is related to more than 85% of lung cancer cases in Canada.

Smokers are about 20 times more likely to develop lung cancer than non-smokers. The longer a person smokes and the more cigarettes smoked each day, the more the risk increases. Smokers are also at a higher risk if they’re exposed to radon or certain chemicals in their home or workplace and continue to smoke.

Most forms of lung cancer develop gradually and do not produce any symptoms until the disease is advanced. This makes it hard to find lung cancer early enough for a cure.

Non-smokers and lung cancer

Each year, more than 250 Canadians die from lung cancer as a result of long-term exposure to the tobacco smoked by other people (second-hand smoke) at home, at work and when they’re out and about.

  • Smoking and other cancers

    Smoking can also increase the risk of developing these types of cancer: nasal cavity, mouth and throat, larynx, esophagus, stomach, pancreas, liver, colon and rectum, bladder, kidney, renal pelvis and ureter, ovarian, cervix, penile, neuroendocrine and acute myelogenous leukemia.



Dr Marc Therrien Dr Marc Therrien is working toward blocking a cancer-driving protein.

Learn more

Cancer information in over a hundred languages

Illustration of question mark

The Canadian Cancer Society’s Cancer Information Service (CIS) is Canada’s only national, bilingual, toll-free service that offers personalized comprehensive cancer information in over 100 languages.

Learn more