publication date: Feb. 13, 2015

ACS: Tobacco May Kill More Than Previously Estimated


Cigarette smoking may kill tens of thousands more from diseases that are not currently counted as caused by smoking, according to a decade-long study led by American Cancer Society researchers.

Published in the New England Journal of Medicine, the new study included data from nearly a million U.S. men and women age 55 or older that enrolled in five U.S. cohort studies—the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Prevention Study-II, the Nurses’ Health Study, the Health Professionals Follow-up Study, the Women’s Health Initiative, and the National Institutes of Health-AARP Diet and Health Study.

During the approximately 10 years the cohorts were followed, there were over 180,000 deaths: researchers found current smokers, as expected, had death rates nearly three times higher than “never smokers.” The study used 95 percent confidence intervals, which were estimated with the use of Cox-proportional-hazards models adjusted for age, race, educational level, daily alcohol consumption, and cohort.

The majority of excess deaths in smokers were due to diseases that are established as being caused by smoking, including 12 types of cancer, coronary heart disease and stroke, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

However, investigators found that about 17 percent of the excess deaths in smokers were due to diseases that have not yet been officially established by the U.S. surgeon general as caused by smoking, and so are not counted in estimates of the death toll from smoking. The surgeon general estimates that each year, smoking kills about 480,000 Americans.

In particular, smoking was associated with at least a doubling of risk of death from several causes, including renal failure, intestinal ischemia, hypertensive … Continue reading 41-06 ACS: Tobacco May Kill More Than Previously Estimated

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