Categories: Health & Fitness

Tobacco: the 56 diseases whose risk is increased by cigarettes

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Half of people who start smoking young (before age 18) will eventually die from tobacco, unless they quit for good. This chilling observation is that made by British and Chinese researchers, in a new study published this December 1 in the journal The Lancet Public Health (Source 1).

In this study, researchers found that smoking increased the risk of contracting no less than 56 diseases, resulting from 22 different causes. The study included 512,726 adults aged 30 to 79, including 302,525 women and 210,201 men, from the China Kadoorie Biobank, a vast Chinese database. Information was collected on the participants: the age at which they started to smoke, their smoking habits (products consumed and frequency). The measurement of carbon monoxide in the exhaled air has also confirmed their statements. All were followed for approximately 11 years, a period during which 48,800 participants died, and approximately 1.14 million pathological events were recorded. Age, level of education and alcohol consumption were taken into account.

Cancers, metabolic disorders, cardiovascular, respiratory or digestive diseases

Of nearly 85 causes of death and 480 diseases studied here, smoking was associated with higher risks of 22 causes of death, and 56 diseases, which affect different biological functions and organs. There are cancer (affecting the larynx, lungs, bladder, esophagus, stomach, liver, etc.), but also metabolic diseases (including diabetes), cardiovascular diseases (stroke, heart attack, angina pectoris, pulmonary embolism and thrombosis, etc.), lung diseases (pneumothorax, pneumonia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, etc.), or even digestive (cirrhosis, ulcers, etc.).

Compared to people who had never smoked, men who smoked regularly had about a 10% higher risk of developing the disease, ranging from a 6% higher risk of diabetes to a 216% higher risk of developing laryngeal cancer. They also experienced significantly more frequent and longer hospital stays, including for cancers and respiratory illnesses. Smokers and smokers were likely to die about 3.5 years earlier than non-smokers.

Encouraging fact: people who quit smoking voluntarily, i.e. before a diagnosis of serious illness, had similar levels of disease risk to people who had never smoked, and this approximately 10 years later smoking cessation.

The results are stark reminders of the serious consequences of smoking and the benefits of quitting before serious illness develops“, has commented Peter Ka Hung Chan, first author of the study and researcher at the University of Oxford. The entire research team calls on the Chinese authorities to react before it is too late, given the bad habits of the Chinese in terms of tobacco.

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