Researchers find more reasons to quit smoking

Death due to renal failure and intestinal ischemia associated with smoking

By Rajit Sengupta
Published: Wednesday 25 February 2015

Photo courtesy: 55Lamey69/FlickrA new study has found that smoking can increase the chances of contracting more diseases than previously thought. The finding, say the scientists, means an additional 60,000 deaths every year in the US. Previous research has established links between smoking and 21 diseases that together cause 480,000 deaths each year.

Researchers pooled data from five contemporary US group studies on 421,378 men and 532,651 women 55 years of age or older. The participants were followed from 2000 through 2011.

During the follow-up period, there were 181,377 deaths, including 16,475 among current smokers. “Overall, approximately 17 per cent of the excess mortality among current smokers was due to associations with causes that are not currently established as attributable to smoking. These included renal failure, intestinal ischemia, hypertensive heart disease, infections, various respiratory diseases, breast cancer, and prostate cancer,” suggest the study findings. The team also found that among former smokers, the relative risk for each of these outcomes declined as the number of years since quitting increased.

“Health effects are not enough to decrease smoking rates,” said Brian D Carter, public health specialist with the American Cancer Society and lead author of the study. However, he and his co-authors hope that the publication of their study in The New England Journal of Medicine will prompt more doctors to aggressively address smoking cessation with their patients.

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