Smoking cigarettes is bad for your health – everyone knows that. However, a new report by the American Cancer Society indicates that smoking is even worse than medical professionals had previously believed. Tobacco has been linked to around 50 percent of deaths from 12 different cancers that can be caused by smoking, meaning that cigarettes exponentially increase one’s risk of death from a host of cancers.
Rebecca Siegel, a researcher with the American Cancer Society who is based in Atlanta, served as the lead study author. Along with her colleagues, Siegel determined that smoking not only increases the risk of the cancers traditionally associated with tobacco – lung, bronchus, trachea, larynx – but it also contributes to deaths from kidney, stomach, cervix and liver cancer. Cigarettes also cause around half of the tumors in the oral cavity, esophagus and bladder that lead to death.
According to the report, which studied cancer deaths in 2011, 167,805 out of the 345,962 deaths among American adults 35 and older were caused by smoking. Siegel and her colleagues arrived at their figure by applying a formula to determine how many of these deaths would have occurred without smoking, then cross-checked their findings with data from national interviews related to smoking habits.
“The bottom line is that while we’ve made a lot of progress against the tobacco epidemic in the United States, there’s still much work to do,” Siegel said in an email to Fox News. “While smoking prevalence continues to slowly decline, the use of alternative tobacco products is on the rise.”
“Although we can’t know exactly how many people are not starting to smoke cigarettes because they are using other tobacco products,” Siegel continued, “e-cigarettes are now the most common form of tobacco use among high school students.”
Those involved with the study did acknowledge that it may have several limitations. For example, the study could not account for secondhand smoking, a wild card that could be responsible for up to 5 percent of deaths by lung cancer. Researchers also admitted that participants in surveys and interviews were generally more educated and not as multicultural as the American public at large. Still, the broad strokes of the study remain clear: smoking cigarettes amplifies one’s risk of an early death from cancer.