WASHINGTON -- The list of diseases linked to smoking has grown longer. Add acute myeloid leukemia; cancers of the cervix, kidney, pancreas, and stomach; abdominal aortic aneurysms, cataracts, periodontitis, and pneumonia.
''We've known for decades that smoking is bad for your health, but this report shows that it's even worse," said Surgeon General Richard Carmona, announcing yesterday his first official assessment of the effects of tobacco.
The report said current evidence is not conclusive enough to say that smoking causes cancer of the colon, rectum, liver, and prostate or erectile disfunction. Some research has associated those diseases with smoking, but Carmona said more proof is needed.
The evidence suggests that smoking may not cause breast cancer in women, but that some women, depending on genetics, may increase their risk of getting it by smoking, the report said.
Diseases previously linked to smoking include cancer of the bladder, esophagus, larynx, lung, and mouth. Also tied to smoking was chronic lung disease, chronic heart and cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, peptic ulcers, and reproductive problems.
About 440,000 Americans die of smoking-related diseases each year. The report said that more than 12 million people have died from smoking-related diseases since the first surgeon general's report on smoking and health was released, in 1964.
That report linked smoking to lung and larynx cancer and chronic bronchitis.
Carmona's report said that treating smoking-related diseases costs the nation $75 billion annually.