how many diseases/illness are cigarettes linked to?

probably take more than a page to list.

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New Report Expands List of Diseases Caused by Smoking

Earlier this year, the office of the US Surgeon General released its new comprehensive report on smoking and health, revealing for the first time that smoking causes diseases in nearly every organ of the body.

Published 40 years after the surgeon general's first report on smoking - which concluded that smoking was a definite cause of three serious diseases - this newest report finds that cigarette smoking is conclusively linked to diseases such as leukemia, cataracts, pneumonia and cancers of the cervix, kidney, pancreas and stomach.

"We've known for decades that smoking is bad for your health, but this report shows that it's even worse than we knew," said Surgeon General Richard H. Carmona. "The toxins from cigarette smoke go everywhere the blood flows. I'm hoping this new information will help motivate people to quit smoking and convince young people not to start in the first place."

According to the report, smoking kills an estimated 440,000 Americans each year. On average, men who smoke cut their lives short by 13.2 years, and female smokers lose 14.5 years. The economic toll exceeds $157 billion each year in the United States - $75 billion in direct medical costs and $82 billion in lost productivity.

In 1964, the Surgeon General's report announced medical research showing that smoking was a definite cause of cancers of the lung and larynx (voice box) in men and chronic bronchitis in both men and women. Later reports concluded that smoking causes cancers of the bladder, esophagus, mouth and throat; cardiovascular diseases and reproductive effects.

The new report, titled The Health Consequences of Smoking: A Report of the Surgeon General, expands the list of illness and conditions linked to smoking. The newly-included illnesses and diseases are:

abdominal aortic aneurysm
acute myeloid leukemia
cataracts
cervical cancer
kidney cancer
pancreatic cancer
periodontitis
pneumonia
stomach cancer
Grim Statistics
Statistics indicate that more than 12 million Americans have died from smoking since the 1964 report of the surgeon general, and another 25 million Americans alive today will most likely die of a smoking-related illness.

The report concludes that smoking reduces the overall health of smokers, contributing to such conditions as hip fractures, complications from diabetes, increased wound infections following surgery, and a wide range of reproductive complications. For every premature death caused each year by smoking, there are at least 20 smokers living with a serious smoking-related illness.

Another major conclusion, consistent with recent findings of other scientific studies, is that smoking so-called low-tar or low-nicotine cigarettes does not offer a heath benefit over smoking regular or "full-flavor" cigarettes.

"There is no safe cigarette, whether it is called 'light,' ultra-light,' or any other name," Dr. Carmona said. "The science is clear: the only way to avoid the health hazards of smoking is to quit completely or to never start smoking."

Health Benefits Now and Later
Quitting smoking has immediate and long-term benefits, notes the report, reducing risks for diseases caused by smoking and improving health in general. "Within minutes and hours after smokers inhale that last cigarette, their bodies begin a series of changes that continue for years," Dr. Carmona said. "Among these health improvements are a drop in heart rate, improved circulation, and reduced risk of heart attack, lung cancer and stroke. By quitting smoking today a smoker can assure a healthier tomorrow."

Dr. Carmona said it is never too late to stop smoking. Quitting smoking at age 65 or older reduces by nearly 50% a person's risk of dying of a smoking-related disease.

The report found that for a number of diseases and conditions associated with smoking, the evidence is not yet conclusive to establish a causal link. For these illnesses, which include colorectal cancer, liver cancer, prostate cancer, and erectile dysfunction in men, additional studies are needed to reach the threshold of evidence required by the Surgeon General's strict causal criteria to declare that they are causally related to smoking. These criteria were introduced in the 1964 report and have been updated in the 2004 report using new uniform standards.

In addition to the 960-page printed report, the US Department of Health and Human Services released a new interactive scientific database of more than 1,600 key articles cited in the report, available through the Internet at www.surgeongeneral.gov. The database can be used to find detailed information on the specific health effects of smoking as well as to develop customized


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U.S. Lengthens the List of Diseases Linked to Smoking

By ELIZABETH OLSON
Published: May 28, 2004

Four decades after the surgeon general's first report on smoking and health linked cigarette use to lung cancer, larynx cancer and bronchitis, the latest annual report has further expanded the list of smoking-related diseases.

The new report, issued Thursday by Surgeon General Richard H. Carmona, concludes that in addition to the many other diseases listed in the intervening years, smoking can cause cancers of the cervix, kidney, pancreas and stomach, as well as abdominal aortic aneurysms, acute myeloid leukemia, cataracts, pneumonia and gum disease.

The report, Dr. Carmona said at a news briefing, ''documents that smoking causes disease in nearly every organ in the body at every stage of life.''

Among the other disorders listed since the first report, in 1964, are cancers of the esophagus, throat and bladder; chronic lung disease; and chronic heart and cardiovascular diseases.

Government figures show that 440,000 Americans a year are now dying of smoking-related illnesses, and Dr. Carmona said more than 12 million had died since the first report. Smokers typically die 13 to 14 years earlier than nonsmokers, he said.

Treating those diseases costs about $75 billion a year, according to government figures, and an even greater amount is sacrificed in lost productivity.

For the first time, however, the number of Americans who have quit smoking edges out the number who still smoke, the surgeon general said. An estimated 46 million Americans ''have managed to beat the habit and quit,'' he said, ''while 45.8 million continue to smoke.'' Of the entire adult population, people 18 or older, smokers now account for only 22 percent.

Still, Dr. Carmona conceded that at the current rate of decline, the federal government would not meet its goal of cutting the number of smokers to 12 percent of adults by 2010.

The report warned that while the number of high school seniors who smoke had been reduced to 24.4 percent last year from 36.5 percent in 1997, trends indicated that the rate of decline in smoking among youths, like that among adults, was slowing.

The surgeon general said that ''every day, nearly 5,000 people under 18 years of age try their first cigarette.''

Just as disturbing as those trends, the report said, is that the rate of smoking ''among some racial and ethnic minority populations and among less-educated Americans remains high.''

Dr. Carmona said he hoped that the message that ''toxins from cigarette smoke go everywhere the blood flows'' would help ''motivate people to quit smoking and convince young people not to start in the first place.''

Quitting can have immediate as well as long-term benefits, the report found. Quitting at age 65 or older, it said, can reduce by nearly 50 percent the risk of dying of a smoking-related disease. On the other hand, former smokers have the same stroke risk as nonsmokers 5 to 15 years after quitting.

Smoking cigarettes with lower yields of tar and nicotine, the report said, do not substantially reduce the risk of lung cancer.

''There is no safe cigarette,'' Dr. Carmona said, ''whether it is called 'light,' 'ultralight' or any other name.''

The 941-page report was prepared by a team of 20 scientists at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and drew on research reported in 1,600 articles, which are available at www.cdc.gov/tobacco.

It found that while some research had pointed to an association between smoking and diseases including colon, liver and prostate cancer, as well as erectile dysfunction, the current evidence was not sufficient to establish a link.


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