The 2004 Surgeon Generals Report on the Health Consequences of Smoking was prepared by 19 of the countrys top scientists, doctors, and public health experts. The full report is nearly 1,000 pages long and took more than 3 years to complete.
From Secretary of Health and Human Services, Tommy G. Thompson:
Forty years have passed since the first landmark Surgeon General's report on smoking and health. Yet, smoking remains the leading preventable cause of death in this country. It continues to cost our society too many lives, too many dollars, and too many tears.
This new Surgeon General's report illustrates the harmful impact of smoking on nearly every organ in the body. Its statistics and conclusions underscore the necessity of remaining vigilant in our smoking prevention efforts. We've made significant progress in our fight against smoking, but we still have much more work to do. Some of the important findings in this report include:
- Smoking causes cancers in parts of the body (including the kidney, cervix, and bone marrow) that have not been previously linked to to smoking in this series of reports.
- Smoking diminishes health generally. Adverse health effects begin before birth and continue across the life span. Smoking also causes cataracts and contributes to the development of osteoporosis, thus increasing the risk for fracture in the elderly.
- During 1995-1999, smoking caused approximately 440,000 premature deaths in the United States annually, leading to 13.2 years of potential life lost for male smokers, and 14.5 years lost for female smokers.
- Changes in cigarettes that reduce machine yields of tar and nicotine have not had any clear benefits for public health.
Four Major Conclusions of the 2004 Report:
- Smoking harms nearly every organ of the body, causing many diseases and reducing the health of smokers in general.
- Quitting smoking has immediate as well as long-term benefits, reducing risks for diseases caused by smoking and improving health in general.
- Smoking cigarettes with lower machine-measured yields of tar and nicotine provides no clear benefit to health.
- The list of diseases caused by smoking has been expanded to include abdominal aortic aneurysm, acute myeloid leukemia, cataract, cervical cancer, kidney cancer, pancreatic cancer, pneumonia, periodontitis, and stomach cancer. These are in addition to diseases previously known to be caused by smoking, including bladder, esophageal, laryngeal, lung, oral, and throat cancers, chronic lung diseases, coronary heart and cardiovascular diseases, as well as reproductive effects and sudden infant death syndrome.
Fact Sheets and Statistics:
Effects of Smoking During Pregnancy
Continuing to smoke during pregnancy carries risks for the unborn child.
Smoking and Reproductive Health
Smoking is toxic to the unborn child, and studies have shown that getting pregnant may be more difficult for smokers.
Smoking and Cancer: Statistics
Most cases of lung cancer death, close to 90% in men, and 80% in women are caused by cigarette smoking.
Coronary Heart Disease Statistics
Coronary heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S., and the leading cause of death caused by smoking.
Respiratory disease is an all too common side effect of smoking. The occasional smoker's cough is often the first signal of trouble in the lungs. Chronic bronchitis usually follows, and if left unchecked, the end result can be emphysema.
Smoking and Senior Health
Seniors face increased risks associated with smoking which include hip fractures, cataracts, and COPD.
How Cigarette Smoking Harms Us
There are approximately 4000 chemicals in cigarette smoke, many of them toxic. The ingredients in cigarettes affect everything from the internal functioning of organs to the efficiency of the body's immune system.
Other Health Effects of Smoking Cigarettes
Smokers have a harder time healing from surgeries, and have more overall health issues than do nonsmokers. This results in more time away from work, and more doctor and hospital visits. Smoking compromises a person's health in so many ways.
Source: The Health Consequences of Smoking: A Report of the Surgeon General.