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Smoking Now Shown to Be More Deadly Than Previously Thought


People worldwide have been urged to quit smoking tobacco or never start, for decades as the litany of deadly diseases it can cause continues to grow and grow. Smoking is the cause of several illnesses, including cancer and heart disease. The number of people that smoke continues to decline nationwide and scientists believe that smoking-related deaths will lower as that trend rises. But it turns out that there are even more deadly smoking related diseases than previously thought.

The United States surgeon general acknowledges 21 different deadly diseases caused by smoking. However, a new study suggests that there a more than a dozen more diseases that should make the list. The study, published in New England Journal of Medicine tracked nearly a million people for a decade and records their causes of death. It was no surprise that those in the group that smoked were more likely to die of heart disease, lung cancer, and other smoking-related illnesses.

The researchers also found other causes of death that occurred more frequently in smokers that had not been noticed before. Things like kidney failure, infections, and other illnesses that had not previously counted were noted. The research team believes that it is not the tobacco itself that may cause these illnesses, but instead the fact that smoking can suppress the immune system, leaving the body more susceptible of getting sick.

In all, diseases not currently on the surgeon general’s lists of deadly smoking-related diseases accounted for 17 percent of excess deaths among smokers in the study. That correlates to about 60,000 addition smoking-related deaths per year in the United States, almost twice as many deaths that car-accidents cause. When combined with the current number of smoking-related deaths annually, it is half a million deaths per year or one in five deaths overall in the United States.

The surgeon general will not be adding these additional diseases to their current list, but said that they will be exploring more studies based on the results of the research above. There are already dozens and dozens of reasons to not smoke – now there are just some more.

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