In The News: Smokers Are Liable To Die Young.

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We’ve known for decades that smoking is one of the worst things you can do to your body and new research has confirmed that it contributes to a wide variety of diseases and dramatically shortens life span.

Breast cancer, prostate cancer, and even routine infections are all ailments tied to smoking in a new study that says an additional 60,000 to 120,000 deaths each year in the United States are probably due to tobacco use.

"Smokers die, on average, more than a decade before nonsmokers," and in the U.S., smoking accounts for one of every five deaths, Dr. Graham Colditz, an epidemiologist at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis wrote in a commentary in the journal.

The report shows that current estimates "have substantially underestimated the burden of smoking on society," he wrote.

"The number of additional deaths potentially linked to cigarette smoking is substantial," Eric J. Jacobs, PhD, a co-author of the study, said in a statement. "Greater than the total number who die each year of influenza or liver disease."

The study looks beyond lung cancer, heart disease and other conditions already tied to smoking, and the 480,000 U.S. deaths attributed to them each year.

The researchers comment that smokers die, on average, more than a decade before nonsmokers and they think that past estimates of the cost of smoking to health and society have substantially underestimated how many people are affected by diseases related to smoking.

Death rates were two to three times higher among current smokers than among people who never smoked.

Most of the excess deaths in smokers were due to 21 diseases already tied to smoking, including 12 types of cancer, heart disease and stroke.

But researchers also saw death rates in smokers were twice as high from other conditions such as kidney failure, infections, liver cirrhosis and some respiratory diseases not previously tied to smoking.

One strong sign that smoking contributed to these deaths was that the risk of dying of these other conditions stated above declined among people who quit smoking. The longer ago they quit, the greater the drop in mortality risk as time went on.

Source: CBS

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