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List of smoking-related diseases expanded

/ Source: The Associated Press

The list of diseases linked to smoking just got longer.

Surgeon General Richard Carmona released his first official assessment of smoking Thursday. The surgeon general’s report concluded that smoking causes a number of diseases not previously attributed to smoking.

They include: acute myeloid leukemia and cancers of the cervix, kidney, pancreas and stomach; abdominal aortic aneurysm, cataracts, periodontitis and pneumonia.

The report said current evidence is not conclusive enough to say smoking causes colorectal cancer, liver cancer, prostate cancer or erectile disfunction.

The evidence suggests smoking may not cause breast cancer in women overall but that some women may increase their risk of getting breast cancer by smoking, depending on genetics, the report said.

Smokers die average of 13 to 14 years earlier

Diseases previously linked to smoking include cancer of the bladder, esophagus, larynx, lung, mouth, throat. Smoking also has been linked to chronic lung disease, chronic heart and cardiovascular disease as well as reproductive problems.

That first report linked smoking to lung and larynx cancer and chronic bronchitis. Subsequent reports, like the one released Thursday, have expanded the list of diseases linked to smoking.

The report says treating smoking-related diseases costs the nation $75 billion annually. The loss of productivity from smoking is estimated to be $82 billion annually.

On average, the surgeon general says, smokers die 13 to 14 years before nonsmokers.

The number of people who smoke has dropped from about 42 percent in 1965 to about 22 percent in 2002, the last year for which such data is available, according to the surgeon general.