It's tacit that only a few populace of smokers get cancer. What spares the others from it or what specifically cause cancer in those populace? See this Washington Post Article
Cigarette smokers are most certainly prone to cancer. See Cecil Medicine, Chapter 183, on the epidemiology of cancer, exposure to tobacco is the most important environmental risk factor for cancer development, at least in the US:
Exposure to tobacco is the single largest cause of cancer in the United States... All forms of tobacco can cause cancer. Cigarette smoking causes cancer of the lip, oral cavity, nasal cavity, paranasal sinuses, pharynx (nasal, oral, and hypopharnyx), larynx, lung, esophagus (squamous cell and adenocarcinoma), stomach, colorectum, pancreas, liver, kidney (adenocarcinoma and renal pelvis), urinary bladder, uterine cervix, and myeloid leukemia.
Cancer may be identified or the cause of death in fewer smokers than might be expected, though, because smoking is an even greater risk factor for cardiovascular disease, and death due to cardiovascular disease.
Cancer is an unlikely phenomenon in an individual cell, but becomes more likely at the organism level, and even more likely over time. Though tobacco may be the most important environmental risk factor for cancer, age is actually a stronger predictor of cancer (see again, Cecil Chapter 183. Autopsy studies give us a quite remarkable example, this one shows incidental prostate cancer in nearly 60% of men over 80 who died from other causes. That figure is not out of the ordinary. Live long enough and you are likely to develop cancer.
Death due to heart disease may account for the lower than expected rates of cancer diagnoses and deaths in smokers. Nothing prevents cancer as well as dying from something else. And as discussed in the blog in the Washington Post you linked to, up to 2/3 of smokers die from smoking related causes