Surgeon General’s Report Shows Extent of Diseases Caused by Smoking

A comprehensive report on smoking and health released by the U.S. Surgeon General finds that smoking causes diseases in nearly every organ of the body.

When the first Surgeon General’s report on smoking was published 40 years ago, it concluded that smoking was a definite cause of cancers of the lung and larynx in men and chronic bronchitis in both men and women. Later reports concluded that smoking caused cancers of the bladder, esophagus, mouth and throat; cardiovascular diseases; and reproductive effects.

The new report, “The Health Consequences of Smoking: A Report of the Surgeon General,” finds that cigarette smoking is also linked to leukemia, cataracts, periodontitis, pneumonia, acute myeloid, abdominal aortic aneurysm, 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,” said U.S. Surgeon General Richard Carmona. “The toxins from cigarette smoke go everywhere the blood flows. I’m hoping this new information will help motivate people to quit smoking and convince young people not to start in the first place.”

According to the report, smoking kills an estimated 440,000 Americans each year. Furthermore, the economic toll linked to smoking is $157 billion each year, with $75 billion spent on direct medical costs and $82 billion in lost productivity.

“We need to cut smoking in this country and around the world,” said HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson. “Smoking is the leading preventable cause of death and disease, costing us too many lives, too many dollars, and too many tears. If we are going to be serious about improving health and preventing disease, we must continue to drive down tobacco use. And we must prevent our youth from taking up this dangerous habit.”