Smoking is a deadly habit. There are warnings on cigarette boxes and schools try to make sure children know the risks. The U.S. surgeon general has spoken out against smoking, claiming that roughly 480,000 American die each year as a result.
It seems the death count might be off — by almost a full 100,000.
The American Cancer Society and the National Cancer Institute combined the results of 5 other smoking studies in this week’s New England Journal of Medicine.
The smoking study combined the figures of two Harvard-based studies (Nurses Health Study I and Health Professionals Follow-up Study) with those found in the Women’s Health Initiative study (Department of Health and Human Services), Cancer Prevention Study II (American Cancer Society), and NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study (National Cancer Institute).
They found that approximately 575,000 people died from smoking, per year.
The reason that the count jumped so high from the estimation was because researchers found many other diseases to be associated with smoking.
Originally, the 21 diseases that were linked to smoking were: mouth cancers, esophageal cancer, stomach cancer, colorectal cancer, liver cancer, pancreatic cancer, laryngeal cancer, lung cancer, bladder cancer, kidney cancer, acute myeloid leukemia, diabetes, ischemic heart disease, other heart disease, stroke, atherosclerosis, aortic aneurysm, other arterial disease, pneumonia/influenza, tuberculosis, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Eric Jacobs, author of the study and strategic director of pharmacoepidemiology at the American Cancer Society, noted that there were other deadly complications linked to smoking. At least five of the new diseases added to the list were twice more likely to be found in smoking people than they were in nonsmokers.
The new smoking-linked diseases include: infections, breast cancer, prostate cancer, rare cancers, hypertensive heart disease, essential hypertension, all other respiratory diseases, liver cirrhosis, all other digestive diseases, and kidney failure, among others.
All the studies looked specifically at smoking and did not include other forms of smokeless tobacco.
New diseases linked to smoking are not all on the same level. Some of them have stronger links than others.
According to NPR, Jacobs stated, “Smoking is now established as a cause of diabetes, which is one of the huge causes of kidney failure in this country.”
“We’ve known for a long time that smoking kills,” Jacobs continued. “We do think, though, that it’s important to get an accurate estimate of just how many people are killed.”
Spokespeople for the Surgeon General noted that they were not looking to add the new diseases to the current list of diseases linked to smoking.
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