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U.S. Top Doc Adds to List of Tobacco's Ills

Posted - May 27, 2004 at 3:20 p.m.



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WASHINGTON, May 27 (AFP) - US Surgeon General Richard Carmona on Thursday added to a list of ailments caused by tobacco -- 40 years after the list was first released.

"We've known for decades that smoking is bad for your health, but this report shows that it's even worse," Carmona said.

"The toxins from cigarette smoke go everywhere the blood flows. I'm hoping this new information will help motivate people to quit smoking and convince young people not to start in the first place."

Carmona's report added leukemia, cataracts, pneumonia and cancers of the colon, uterus, kidney and stomach.

Smoking kills about 440,000 people in the United States each year. Men who smoke reduce their life expectancy by 13.2 years, and women, 14.5. according to the report which posts the cost of cigarette smoking at 157 billion dollars annually, of which 75 billion are medical costs and 82 billion for losses in productivity.

Smoking also weakens bone, complicates diabetes, increases post-surgical infections and decreases fertility, the study said.

"There is no safe cigarette, whether it is called 'light,' ultra-light,' or any other name," the study said.

"The science is clear: The only way to avoid the health hazards of smoking is to quit completely or to never start smoking.

In 1964, a Surgeon General's report for the first time linked smoking with lung and larynx cancer. Since then, smoking has been tied to cancers in the mouth, throat and cardiovascular diseases.

The US president names the Surgeon General to lead the nation on public health matters.

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COPYRIGHT 2004 Agence France-Presse. All rights reserved.

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