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long-term study shows smoking kills even more than was thought

“ The bad news is that smoking is even better than we thought at killing people. The good news is that stopping smoking gives you more extra years of life than we thought." Stopping at ages 60, 50, 40 or 30 buys you, respectively, 3, 6, 9 or 10 years of life expectancy that would otherwise be lost to smoking-related disease.

“Smoking wipes 10 years off a person's life on average, according to the longest ever study of smokers, but giving up at any age brings huge benefits.

“Quitting at 30 virtually eliminates the risk from dying prematurely, and giving up at 50 halves it. But half of those who fail to kick the habit will die as a result of smoking, and a quarter of all smokers die in middle-age.”




“The evidence is sufficient to infer a causal relationship between active smoking and....”

From the executive summary:

“ Despite the many prior reports on the topic and the high level of public knowledge in the United States of the adverse effects of smoking in general, tobacco use remains the leading preventable cause of disease and death in the United States, causing approximately 440,000 deaths each year and costing approximately $157 billion in annual health-related economic losses (see Chapter 7, "The Disease Impact of Cigarette Smoking and Benefits of Reducing Smoking").

“Nationally, smoking results in more than 5.6 million years of potential life lost each year. Although the rates of smoking continue to decline, an estimated 46.2 million adults in the United States still smoked cigarettes in 2001 (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC] 2003a). In 2000, 70 percent of those who smoked wanted to quit (CDC 2002b).

“An increasingly disturbing picture of widespread organ damage in active smokers is emerging, likely reflecting the systemic distribution of tobacco smoke components and their high level of toxicity. Thus, active smokers are at higher risk for cataract, cancer of the cervix, pneumonia, and reduced health status generally.”

From an associated press release:

“U.S. Surgeon General Richard H. Carmona today released a 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," Dr. Carmona said. "The toxins from cigarette smoke go everywhere the blood flows." ”

Index to chapters of complete report.

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