Tobacco consumption remains a significant threat to public health around the world and smoking-related
diseases are considered the world’s most preventable cause of death. Smoking is associated to several diseases and
conditions, most importantly different types of cancer. At least 30% of all cancer death is related to smoking including
87% and 70% of lung cancer deaths in men and women, respectively. Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths
compared to cancer of other organs in both men and women. Also, tobacco is a known risk factor of oral and pharyngeal
malignancies. Although oral cancer accounts for 1%-2% of all cancers in the body, it carries a relatively high rate of
mortality. It has been shown that the risk of oral cancer is reduced by smoking cessation. Also, mortality and morbidity of
oral cancer could be effectively reduced by elimination of this risk factor. In this article, we review the current literature
on the relationship of tobacco with oral, pharyngeal and lung cancers. We present the epidemiologic and experimental
evidence supporting the link between tobacco use and the induction and development of cancer. The association between
genetic susceptibility and tobacco carcinogens is discussed. supported by genome-wide association studies. Public health
preventive measures and tobacco control means are emphasized as well.
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