Thursday, February 12, 2015

Smoking May Cause Even More Deaths Than Previously Thought

By. Elizabeth Mendes - American Cancer Society

Smoking may be linked to more diseases – and more deaths – than previously estimated, according to a new study led by American Cancer Society researchers, published online in the New England Journal of Medicine February 11.

The study concludes that the current estimate of the number of deaths caused by cigarette smoking each year – 480,000 in the 2014 Surgeon General’s report – may in fact be too low. The Surgeon General’s estimate includes deaths from the 21 diseases that research has already established are caused by smoking. These are: 12 types of cancer, 6 categories of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease [COPD], and pneumonia including influenza.

The new study finds that there are a number of other diseases that may also be increasing death rates among smokers. This is based on an analysis of data from 421,378 men and 532,651 women followed from 2000 to 2011. During that time period, there were 181,377 deaths, 16,475 of which were among current smokers. In order to get a large enough number of participants, the authors combined data from 5 different studies: the American Cancer Society Cancer Prevention Study II Nutrition Cohort, the Nurses’ Health Study I cohort, the Health Professionals Follow-up Study cohort, the Women’s Health Initiative cohort, and the National Institutes of Health – AARP Diet and Health Study cohort.

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