Heart and lung disease are the biggest killers in the borough and claim more lives here than in most areas of London, new figures have revealed.
The first ever comprehensive map of causes of death in the capital show at least 100 men and 42 women died of heart disease in 2012 or every 100,000 people in Croydon, a higher rate than the national and London average.
Lung diseases, the second most lethal killer in Croydon, claims the lives of 86 men and 52.5 women for every 100,000 people.
Only three outer London boroughs had a higher toll of deaths attributed to heart and lung disease, which health experts warn are closely tied to economic inequality.
Dr Marilena Korkodilos, deputy director of specialist public health services at Public Health London, said: "The evidence is clear - a person's likelihood of dying early varies widely between boroughs due to differences in risk factors such as being overweight, lack of exercise, excessive alcohol consumption and smoking, and that these are closely linked to economic deprivation."
While heart disease deaths have fallen in Croydon in the last year two years, both respiratory diseases and lung cancer are on the rise.
Dementia and Alzheimer's disease were the borough's third highest cause of death, killing 36.5 men and 33 women for every 100,000 people last year.
Margaret Mead, the council's cabinet member for health, said cutting the number of smokers was a key priority.
She said: "The big one is smoking, because we know smoking has a direct result on your health."
She added the council - which last year joined the British Heart Foundation's Heart Town campaign - would be targeting youngsters to engender healthy lifestyles early.
She said: "There were 133 preventable deaths in Croydon - those are people whose deaths would have been preventable if they had made simple lifestyle changes, such as getting off the bus early or eating more vegetables.
"Those of the kind of people we need to work with and we need to work make sure children take the messages home too."
But the council has yet to act on its pledge, made a year ago, to use planning powers to limit to spread of fast food outlets in the borough, with Coun Mead promising only it would "work with fast food outlets to encourage them to sell a healthy option".
And in April last year, Coun Mead denied there was a conflict of interest between the council's public health role and its £2.1m investments in the tobacco industry.
She said then: "I think they are separate questions. It is an individual choice whether you smoke or not and trying to make sure there are sufficient pension funds is looking after people's best interests."
Coun Margaret Mead and Mike Robinson, the council's director of public health, promote the Heart Town campaign
Croydon's biggest killers:
Male (deaths in 2012 per 100,000 population/London average)
1. Ishaemic heart disease (99.7/91.5)
2. Malignant neoplasm of trachea, bronchus and lung (45/45)
3. Chronic lower respiratory diseases (41/36.7)
4. Cerebrovascular diseases (36.5/32.9)
5. Influenza and pneumonia (26.4/28.9)
6. Dementia and Alzeimer's disease (25.9/29.1)
7. Malignant neoplasm of lymphoid, haematopoietic and related tissue (21.4/15.3)
8. Malignant neoplasm of colon, sigmoid, rectum and anus (21.3/19)
9. Malignant neoplasm of prostate (20.3/21)
10. Heart failure and complications and ill-defined heart disease (5.1/11.6)
1. Ishaemic heart diseases (42.3/40.1)
2. Dementia and Alzeimer's disease (33/32.2)
3. Malignant neoplasm of trachea, bronchus and lung (29.3/27.5)
4. Chronic lower respiratory diseases (29.2/24.1)
5. Cerebrovascular diseases (27.1/28.3)
6. Influenza and pneumonia (25.1/22.1)
7. Malignant neoplasm of breast (23/22.9)
8. Malignant neoplasm of colon, sigmoid, rectum and anus (10.4/11.9)
9. Diseases of the urinary system (9.6/7.8)
10. Heart failure and complications and ill-defined heart disease (7.1/12.6)
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