The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has classified processed meat as a carcinogen, something that causes cancer. And it has classified red meat as a probable carcinogen, something that probably causes cancer. Now, this study was somewhat blown out of proportion by some which led to a lot of people disregarding the study altogether. Because processed meats were placed in the same category as smoking the story became "processed meat is as bad as smoking" which isn't an accurate comparison for a plethora of reasons. Smoking is probably still worse for you, and if you smoke cigarettes, you should probably stop. However bad headlines and improper reporting do not discredit the study. The study is large, well regarded, peer-reviewed, and confirms what numerous other studies have shown. All this just addresses the risk of cancer, red meat and processed meats increase your risk of heart disease, obesity, etc, etc, etc.