New Study Ties More Diseases to Smoking

Lung cancer has a well-known link to smoking, but recent studies suggest that tobacco use is linked to many more diseases and conditions. An estimated 480,000 deaths occur in the United States each year due to lung cancer, heart disease and other related conditions. Estimates show that an additional 60,000 to 12,000 deaths occur each year as the result of tobacco use alone. On average, people who smoke die more than ten years sooner than their nonsmoking peers.

Despite the significant risk of death and other conditions related to smoking and tobacco use, approximately 18 percent of adults in the United States smoke. An estimated eight percent of American youth smoke as well. A study by the American Cancer Society examined data across five other studies on the effects of smoking on health. The longitudinal data tracked participants’ health for a period of ten years. Compared to their nonsmoking counterparts, smokers were two to three times higher for current smokers than for people who had never smoked. In addition to lung cancer, the deaths were caused by 20 other diseases that have been linked to smoking. Conditions such as heart disease, stroke and other cancers were among the most common.

In addition to the expected evidence that smokers were more likely to die from these known related conditions, researchers were surprised to find that smokers were also more likely to die from conditions that were previously thought to be unrelated. From kidney failure and cirrhosis of the liver to serious infections, smokers were far more likely to die from diseases that were seemingly unrelated to smoking and tobacco usage.

Gender is also believed to have a role in the relationship between smoking and potentially fatal diseases such as cancer and heart disease. In 2015, lung cancer surpassed breast cancer for the first time as the most fatal form of cancer for women. Females who smoke are also 30 percent more likely to die from breast cancer than nonsmokers. Males who smoke are also 40 percent more likely to die of prostate cancer.

While nonsmokers in general fare better in terms of long-term health, studies show that the harmful effects of smoking may be diminished over time. The more time that passes after someone stops smoking, the more their likelihood of dying from a related disease such as lung cancer or heart disease declines.

Despite the significant risk of death and other conditions related to smoking and tobacco use, approximately 18 percent of adults in the United States smoke. An estimated eight percent of American youth smoke as well. A study by the American Cancer Society examined data across five other studies on the effects of smoking on health. The longitudinal data tracked participants’ health for a period of ten years. Compared to their nonsmoking counterparts, smokers were two to three times higher for current smokers than for people who had never smoked. In addition to lung cancer, the deaths were caused by 20 other diseases that have been linked to smoking. Conditions such as heart disease, stroke and other cancers were among the most common.

In addition to the expected evidence that smokers were more likely to die from these known related conditions, researchers were surprised to find that smokers were also more likely to die from conditions that were previously thought to be unrelated. From kidney failure and cirrhosis of the liver to serious infections, smokers were far more likely to die from diseases that were seemingly unrelated to smoking and tobacco usage.

Gender is also believed to have a role in the relationship between smoking and potentially fatal diseases such as cancer and heart disease. In 2015, lung cancer surpassed breast cancer for the first time as the most fatal form of cancer for women. Females who smoke are also 30 percent more likely to die from breast cancer than nonsmokers. Males who smoke are also 40 percent more likely to die of prostate cancer.

While nonsmokers in general fare better in terms of long-term health, studies show that the harmful effects of smoking may be diminished over time. The more time that passes after someone stops smoking, the more their likelihood of dying from a related disease such as lung cancer or heart disease declines.


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