This was a large prospective study in an Australian population, over 200,000 adults. It investigated deaths attributable to smoking.
- Up to two-thirds (67%) of deaths in current smokers can be attributed to smoking.
- Smokers experienced a 3-fold increased risk of premature death … 2-fold for less than 14 cigarettes a day, 4-fold for greater than 25 cig/day.
- Current smokers were estimated to die 10 years earlier than non-smokers.
That 67% statistic is high. It pretty much means that everyone you know who smokes will die prematurely, either of a heart attack, a stroke, diabetes, or cancer. Smoking increases the risks of all of these, and not just lung cancer. It’s implicated in cancers all along the digestive tract from the mouth to the anus, and the pancreas, liver, kidneys, sex organs, and bone. Smoking doesn’t just kill, it maims. Lung diseases, arthritis, and dementia are all associated with smoking. And because it maims, it costs. Health care bills for smokers have been estimated at several thousand dollars more per year. I talk a lot about food, but not much we eat comes close to the bodily devastation wrought by smoking.
Here’s a clip of Yul Brynner from his interview on Good Morning America 9 months before his death. After he died, The American Cancer Society took 29 seconds of the interview and produced this public service announcement.
“Now that I’m gone, I tell you don’t smoke. Whatever you do, just don’t smoke. If I could take back that smoking, we wouldn’t be talking about any cancer. I’m convinced of that.”