Smoking indictment: Most Serious Yet ever since the Surgeon General of the Public Health Service first reported on the dangers of cigarette smoking in 1964, the Surgeon General of each succeeding administration has done the same. Now, the latest Surgeon General’s report on the subjects, that of C. Everett Koop, has just been released, and as he point out, it “…. Is in some respects the most serious indictment of cigarette smoking which the Public Health Service has yet made”
This report, unlike previous ones, concentrates exclusively on scientific data linking cigarette smoking to cancer. One of the reason, Koop explains, is that total death rates from cancer alone, among the major cause of death, have shown no major decline during a period when deaths from heart disease, infectious diseases, and accidents have fallen. This lack of major decline is due almost completely to cigarette smoking.
1. Almost one third of all current cancer deaths are due to cigarette. Cigarette smoking is a major cause of not just lung cancer, but of cancers of the larynx, oral cavity and esophagus, it is also a contributor to the development of bladder, pancreas and kidney cancers, and may also be responsible for stomach and cervical cancers.
2. Three epidemiologic studies have been published that explore the possibility that passive exposure to cigarette smoke causes lung cancer. Two of the studies have found a statistically significant link between non smoking wives risk of lung cancer and the extent of their husbands’ smoking. In the third study the risk of lung cancer among non-smoking wives of smoking husbands was also increased, but the risk was not significant statistical. Although the currently available evidence is not sufficient to conclude that passive or involuntary smoking causes lung cancer in non-smokers, “the report asserts, “the evident does raise concern about a possible serious heath problems”.
3. while cigarettes appears to be the major culprits as far as cancer is concerned, pipes and cigars are also “casual factors” for cancers of the lung, lanynx, mouth and esophagus. Long term snuff use seems to be implicated in mouth cancer.
A similar indictment of cigarette smoking has also just been issued by the American Cancer Society.