We’ve been well aware of the dangers of smoking since grade school.
Now, an influential new study on smoking and death reveals that it may be even worse for you than you thought.
The study adds five diseases to the list of 21 diseases caused by cigarette smoking, accompanied by an increase of 60,000 more deaths each year in the US. This comes half a dozen decades after a landmark report from the surgeon general in 1964 that first associated smoking with lung and laryngeal cancer and chronic bronchitis.
Mounting research has since linked smoking to 12 types of cancer, acute myeloid leukemia, heart disease, diabetes, stroke and atherosclerosis.
But the latest study – conducted by researchers at the American Cancer Society, the National Cancer Institute, and four universities, and published in The New England Journal of Medicine – suggests that it could be much worse than that.
Inhaling the over 4000 chemicals contained in tobacco smoke is now blamed for additional diseases like new heart and lung ailments, kidney failure, infections, and a rare intestinal disease. It also detected slight increased in risks of breast and prostate cancer among smokers, but further research is required before conclusions can be drawn.
The study followed more than 900,000 men and women who were 55 years of age or older for 10 years.
If current smokers remain blissfully unaffected or unfazed by the current smoking stats, graphic imaging on cigarette packs, or the increasing number of people they know with smoking-related ailments, it’s doubtful this new information will make a difference.
Currently, about 37,000 people die each year in Canada as a result of smoking tobacco.
Is it time to ban smoking altogether?