SARASOTA, Fla. - A new report from the Surgeon General finds smoking causes more disease and damage than previously estimated. This timely information marks the 50th anniversary of the landmark report that launched the anti-smoking movement.
Smokers may have more reason than ever to kick the habit, as two additional cancers, a disease that blinds and birth defects are now included on the list of smoking caused diseases. and there are others.
Twenty three year-old Carly Karp has her motivations for quitting smoking. "Oh I was terrible, I actually started smoking at eleven years old, and that was pretty regularly." She said, "I hated just reeking of the smoke, everything I touched, everything I own, the car and that was awful, I don't want any yellowing teeth, your fingers get yellow from holding cigarettes, its gross, its just gross."
Although her decision to quit wasn't just because of health reasons it is timely because, now there more entries to the official list of smoking caused diseases.
The new report from the surgeon general suggests a link between colon cancer and tobacco use and Suncoast Oncologist Steven Mamus of Cancer Center Sarasota Manatee said this is only one of the new findings.
"There's been association with vascular disease, coronary artery disease, stroke." Said Dr. Mamus.
Liver cancer is now included on the report and can be added to other cancers caused by smoking. Mamus said, "Head and neck cancer, esophageal cancer, kidney cancer, and there's a potential link with AML among others.
And, there's more. Type-2 diabetes, Rheumatoid arthritis, Erectile Dysfunction and Macular Degeneration are some new entries.
But, there is good news for those that quit early, said Dr. Mamus. "If you stop smoking before the age of thirty and you completely stop then there's almost no increased risk of long term morbidity or or mortality from smoking."
As of now more than 20 million people in the U.S. have died from smoking-related diseases since 1964. The report puts this at 10 times the number of Americans who have died in all of the nation's wars combined.
We know there are health risks yet people continue to smoke. Perhaps this will add incentive for those struggling to quit.