Washington, Jan 18 (IANS/EFE) Acting US Surgeon General Boris D. Lushniak expanded in his latest report the list of diseases caused by smoking, a warning that comes 50 years after the first official government document that associated tobacco with lung cancer.
The expanded list includes liver and colon cancer, type 2 diabetes mellitus, age-related macular degeneration, erectile dysfunction and rheumatoid arthritis.
Smoking, according to the report, also causes inflammation and sight loss, is detrimental to the immune system, increases the risk of dying from tuberculosis and of women having an extrauterine pregnancy.
What is established in the report ‘The Health Consequences of Smoking – 50 Years of Progress’, is taken as a reference by researchers and health authorities.
The document also says that smokers today run a higher risk of developing lung cancer than they did 50 years ago, due to changes in the design and composition of cigarettes.
In 1964 the US government concluded for the first time, in a historic and controversial report that changed forever the nation’s attitude toward tobacco, that smoking causes life-threatening diseases such as lung cancer.
Since then, the number of smokers in the country has dropped significantly – from 43 percent of adults in 1965 to 18 percent in 2012.
Despite the progress, tobacco is the principal cause of premature deaths in the US, where every year it takes more than 400,000 lives.