A newly released US Surgeon General’s report shows that cigarette smoking is even more hazardous than previously thought. The report reveals that smoking causes more diseases, kills more people and costs the United States more in medical bills and other economic losses than has previously been reported.
Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids president Matthew L. Myers said cigarettes were more deadly today than they were 50 years ago because of actions taken by the tobacco industry.
“Smokers’ risk of death from all causes, compared to those who never smoked, has gone up significantly over the past 50 years,” said Myers on the report, which comes 50 years after the first Surgeon General’s report on smoking and health.
Citing the report, Myers further said: “Today’s cigarette smokers, both men and women, have a much higher risk of lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease than smokers in 1964 despite smoking fewer cigarettes.”
The report points to changes in the design and composition of cigarettes as the only reasonable explanation for the increased risk of lung cancer.
It is said that the United States has actually made remarkable progress in the past 50 years and cut smoking rates to 18.1 percent in 2012, or by more than half from 42.4 percent in 1965.
However, tobacco use continues to have a devastating impact on the health of individual Americans and the nation as a whole.
Each year, smoking kills 480,000 Americans, causing about one out of every five deaths in the US. It costs the country at least US$289 billion in medical bills and lost productivity, which is nearly $100 billion more than previously reported.
“Without urgent action to reduce smoking, 5.6 million children under age 18 alive today will die prematurely from smoking-caused disease,” according to the report. (ebf)
The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | World | Sun, January 19 2014, 1:22 PM
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