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Smoking is More Deadly Than it Used to Be

Smoking is More Deadly Than it Used to Be

Smoking today is even more deadly than it was half a century ago, according to the most recent report on smoking from the U.S. Surgeon General. Roughly 43 million adults in the U.S. smoke, or 18 percent of the population.

Although the percentage of Americans who smoke is at an all-time low, the health risks for those who smoke is worse than in the past. The report finds that “the evidence is sufficient to infer that the relative risk of dying from cigarette smoking has increased over the last 50 years.”

In other words, smoking today makes you more likely to die early than it did for someone smoking in the 1950s or 1960s. Men who smoked in 1959 were about three times more likely to get lung cancer than men who never smoked. Today, men who smoke are 26 times more likely than their non-smoking peers. In 1959, female smokers were 12 times more likely to suffer from lung cancer than women who had never smoked. Today, that women who smoke are 25 time more likely to get cancer.

Changes in the composition of cigarettes may have contributed to this change, but it’s difficult to determine the cause. “Beyond causing specific diseases and a wide range of other adverse health effects, smoking is also associated with generally poorer health, when smokers are compared with nonsmokers,” the report says.

“However, the pattern of changes in risk and death rates in other diseases caused by smoking make it difficult to sort out what specific aspects of smoking are most responsible for increased risk of dying prematurely due to smoking,” Centers for Disease Control spokesman Joel London told NPR.

Smoking also causes more diseases than previously known. The report says that tuberculosis, diabetes, ectopic pregnancy, erectile dysfunction and rheumatoid arthritis have all been causally linked to smoking. The report also explores a number of potential ways to further reduce the percentage of Americans who smoke.

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article by Margaret Badore

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Planet Green is the multi-platform media destination devoted to the environment and dedicated to helping people understand how humans impact the planet and how to live a more environmentally sustainable lifestyle. Its two robust websites, planetgreen.com and TreeHugger.com, offer original, inspiring, and entertaining content related to how we can evolve to live a better, brighter future. Planet Green is a division of Discovery Communications.

92 comments

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2:25AM PDT on Jul 2, 2014

Whether you've tried to quit smoking before or this is your first time, you probably know that smoking is a deadly habit. In fact, smoking kills almost half a million Americans every year, causing nearly one of every five deaths in the United States. Smoking is the single most preventable cause of death in our society. Even in the face of this reality, many people continue to smoke – not because they don’t want to stop, but because continuing to smoke seems easier than trying to quit. But however difficult it may be, when you quit smoking, you give up a familiar habit, and in return you gain your health and your life. When you quit smoking, you are not only making important lifestyle changes for yourself, your family, and others around you, but also, you are making personal mindset changes that will help you live tobacco-free.

The fact that you are reading this means that you may be ready or maybe you've begun to think about quitting. Did you know that 46 million Americans have already quit smoking? You can do it too.

1:22AM PDT on Jun 27, 2014

Whether you've tried to quit smoking before or this is your first time, you probably know that smoking is a deadly habit. In fact, smoking kills almost half a million Americans every year, causing nearly one of every five deaths in the United States. Smoking is the single most preventable cause of death in our society. Even in the face of this reality, many people continue to smoke – not because they don’t want to stop, but because continuing to smoke seems easier than trying to quit. But however difficult it may be, when you quit smoking, you give up a familiar habit, and in return you gain your health and your life. When you quit smoking, you are not only making important lifestyle changes for yourself, your family, and others around you, but also, you are making personal mindset changes that will help you live tobacco-free.

The fact that you are reading this means that you may be ready or maybe you've begun to think about quitting. Did you know that 46 million Americans have already quit smoking? You can do it too.

1:03PM PST on Jan 23, 2014

Surely if "it's difficult to determine the cause", it is all hearsay.

I do not smoke, however, I do find these sorts of articles very annoying, they have no proof, yet once you read the heading "Smoking is More Deadly Than it Used to Be", you believe it, it is as if it has been turned into a fact, but I repeat - "it's difficult to determine the cause", so basically, it is an unfinished report.

They do not say that modern day living could also be a reason why the numbers have increased, today's world is vastly different to 1959, maybe that is what is increasing deaths and those deaths just happen to be smokers.

It could also be an issue with the statistics, it says that in 1959, women were 4 times more likely to get lung cancer than men (Men 3x, women 12x). Yet the women's statistics 50 years on has only doubled to 25, but the men's has jumped nearly 9x to 26. Doesn't that sound strange? What has happened to women that has made them less likely to get lung cancer now than men? Back then for every 26 men who had cancer, 104 women did, but now a women's likelihood has been slashed to just 25.

Sounds like a load of rubbish to me.

2:36PM PST on Jan 21, 2014

you might also die from breathing car pollution ;-)
or sliding on a banana skin
and about 19.000 people die in Germany from bad surgeons, practitioners and wrong medicine or wrong diagnosis... heard it on the radio today ;-)

12:17PM PST on Jan 21, 2014

The biggest health risk is from being assaulted by non smokers.
And all the anti smoking campaigns just make me want to start smoking.

1:17PM PST on Jan 20, 2014

"Smoking is more deadly than it used to be..." and still legal. Obviously the people who have appointed themselves all-knowing-of-what's-good-for-everyone aren't doing anything to protect anyone from smoking (although they have done a pretty good job of protecting us from cigarette advertising). If smoking is bad but legal, and drinking is bad but legal, why isn't marijuana legal? Because it's good?

12:37PM PST on Jan 20, 2014

Addiction is a terrible thing, and smokers need kindness and support when they are trying to quit-- shaming tends to cause a backlash effect, where people will smoke as a defiance to unkindness. So please be patient and positive, so your smoker friends feel safe making the effort. I have never smoked, but I don't think that means I'm a better person, just a safer one

7:50AM PST on Jan 20, 2014

Thanks.

7:32AM PST on Jan 20, 2014

Okay.

4:34AM PST on Jan 20, 2014

If smoking is doing all of these horrible things then JUST QUIT SMOKING, PEOPLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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