- The Washington Times - Friday, May 28, 2004

The list of diseases linked to smoking just got longer.

Surgeon General Richard Carmona released his first official assessment of smoking yesterday. The surgeon general’s report concluded that smoking causes many diseases not previously attributed to smoking.

They include: acute myeloid leukemia and cancers of the cervix, kidney, pancreas and stomach, abdominal aortic aneurysm, cataracts, periodontitis and pneumonia.

The report said evidence is not conclusive enough to link smoking to colorectal cancer, liver cancer, prostate cancer or erectile dysfunction.

The evidence suggests smoking may not cause breast cancer in women overall but that some women might increase their risk of getting breast cancer by smoking, depending on genetics, the report said.

Diseases previously linked to smoking include cancer of the bladder, esophagus, larynx, lung, mouth and throat. Smoking also has been linked to chronic lung disease, chronic heart and cardiovascular disease, as well as reproductive problems.

About 440,000 Americans die of smoking-related diseases each year. The report said more than 12 million people have died from smoking-related diseases in the 40 years since the first surgeon general’s report on smoking and health was released in 1964.

That first report linked smoking to lung and larynx cancer and chronic bronchitis. Subsequent reports, such as the one released yesterday, have expanded the list of diseases linked to smoking.

The report says treating smoking-related diseases costs the nation $75 billion annually. The loss of productivity from smoking is estimated to be $82 billion annually.

On average, the surgeon general says, smokers die 13 to 14 years before nonsmokers.

Smoking rates are down in the U. S., but not enough to reach the goal of 12 percent of adults by 2010, set by the Health and Human Services Department.

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