Smoking is worse than previously thought, a new study reveals. Forty two million people in American die 10 years sooner if they smoke. They succumb to diseases that arise from the use of tobacco. A recent study released in the New England Journal of Medicine alerts the public to even more deaths that were likely the cause of a cigarette habit.
The authoritative study, sponsored by the American Cancer Society and four universities, followed smokers for more than 10 years and revealed that diseases previously not attributed to the habit were actually related to smoking. Researchers used an observational style to follow the behaviors of more than 1 million men and women. They found that a rare intestinal disease that comes from blood flow restriction is due to tobacco. They also found deaths specific to heart, kidney and lung diseases that had not previously been attributed to tobacco use. Researchers still have more study to do as they check on a link between breast and prostate cancer and tobacco use. In total, an additional 60,000 more deaths are linked to smoking than previously thought.
An editorial accompanying the study authored by Dr. Graham Golditz stated that low-income people in particular underestimate the dangers of tobacco use and need help to quit. They do not know that smoking is worse than previously thought. Researchers suggest using government programs such as the Affordable Care Act to help usher smokers into the knowledge and dangers of tobacco. The ACA currently sponsors smoking cessation programs and information to help people quit.
The first study to research the effects of tobacco use appeared in 1964. It showed definitively that smoking caused throat and lung cancer along with chronic bronchitis. The news got progressively worse as the years and the studies continued. This latest study announced that close to 500,000 people die, and that it causes more than 20 different kinds of diseases, including 12 different types of cancer. Smoking hardens the arteries of the heart, and can also lead to diabetes and stroke.
Cigarettes contain many dangerous ingredients. Some ingredients, such as steric and acetic acid are approved for food usage. The other more than 69 additives are known carcinogens. Cadmium is found in batteries and can damage the lungs. Arsenic is an active ingredient in rat poisoning. Butane is found in lighter fluid. Ammonia is found in most toilet cleaners. Toluene is an industrial solvent used in paint thinner. Nicotine is a pesticide which is also very addictive and smokers sometimes get overwhelmed by nicotine cravings. In fact, in one study conducted by Cancer Epidemiology, iomarkers and Prevention showed that almost half of the patients who had been treated surgically for lung cancer went back to the smoking, some within two months of the surgery. These study subjects had also smoked a few months before their surgery. The study showed that these patients are more likely to have serious complications, a return of the cancer and expedient death among the worst. Study patients admit that their smoking craving got to be too strong for some. Those who had the most trouble were those who waited up until right before the surgery to quit. Smoking is much worse than previously thought, but quitting the habit for the long-term might be much harder.
By Danielle Branch
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