Society already knows that cigarette smoke is detrimental for one’s health. Yet even so, most of us still engage in this destructive behaviour for the sheer pleasure of reaffirming our own mortalities. The question is whether it is worth it to do so. Apart from lung cancer, cigarette smoke is responsible for more suffering than you would think. Smoke-related deaths represent half of major cancer deaths, a recent study suggests.
The new study, published in Monday’s issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, claims that nearly 50% of all cancer deaths can be linked back to cigarette smoking. Cancers of the oesophagus, bladder, colon and eight other regions are strongly connected to tobacco use.
Researchers concluded that out of the 345,952 cancer deaths which occurred in the US, among people aged 35 or more, in 2011, 48.5% (167,805) were attributed to cigarette smoking.
Though most smoking-related cancers involve broncho-pulmonary cancers (about 45%), researchers found that colorectal cancer (15%), pancreatic cancers (11%) and liver cancer (6%) connected to cigarette smoking were also at the top of the list.
In total, more than 12 cancer types are attributable to the horrible habit and when summed up, the deaths caused by all these cancers account for nearly half of all cancer-related deaths. This figure alone is a clear sign that something should change.
Lung and larynx cancers showcase by far the strongest connection to tobacco smoking, with approximately 83 percent of all lung cancer deaths in men and 76 percent in women (125,799 out of 156,855 deaths) being a direct result of cigarette smoking. What’s more, 93 percent of larynx cancer-related deaths among women are caused by cigarette use, researchers concluded.
“This study shows that there is a huge burden of other cancers caused by smoking in addition to lung cancer,” Dr. Norman Edelman, American Lung Association senior advisor explains.
Though the study itself may not seem so novel (as scientific literature has reminded us time and time again of the risks associated with cigarette smoking), the fact that it identifies so many additional cancer types directly attributable to smoking is.
Esophageal cancers, mouth and throat cancers, pancreatic, bladder, liver cancers, uterine, stomach, cervical and kidney cancers have all been traced back to cigarette smoking. Even acute myeloid leukemia has been shown to trace 15% of all deaths back to smoking.
Researchers obtained this data by comparing data obtained from five individual studies, the Cancer Prevention Study II as well as the 2011 National Health Interview Survey. According to study authors, the numerous deaths caused by these cancers will become more evident as years go by. Current smokers, they explain, will only experience the consequences of their actions in 30 to 40 years.
One of the team’s conclusions was that cancer mortality reduction will greatly depend on a different approach, aimed at comprehensively controlling tobacco smoking.
The study did not investigate other forms of tobacco administration (such as cigars, pipes or electronic cigarettes). Also, the study did not investigate the way in which second-hand smoke influenced the results.
Image Source: Yale News