The new Surgeon General’s report on smoking called The Health Consequences of Smoking—50 Years of Progress: A Report of the Surgeon General adds diabetes, colorectal and liver cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, erectile dysfunction, age-related macular degeneration, and other conditions to the list of diseases that cigarette smoking causes. The report (released this week) concludes that secondhand smoke exposure is now known to cause strokes even in nonsmokers.
The new report also says 5.6 million American children alive today will die prematurely from smoking-related diseases unless current smoking rates drop. The report concludes that smoking kills nearly half a million Americans a year, with an additional 16 million suffering from smoking-related conditions. It puts the price tag of smoking in the U.S. at more than $289 billion a year in direct medical care and other economic costs.