The Ultimate Dangerous Product: Surgeon General Links Smoking to Erectile Dysfunction, Diabetes, and Other Ailments
2014 Report Marks 50th Anniversary of Surgeon General Reports on Smoking, Links Smoking to Erectile Dysfunction and Other Ailments
In 1964, the very first “Surgeon General’s Report on Smoking and Health” cited smoking as a cause of lung cancer in men. Fifty years and 31 editions later, the list of reasons not to smoke is still growing. Last Friday, Dr. Boris D. Lushniak, the acting surgeon general, issued the 32nd edition. In summary, the U.S. has made significant headway in the fight against tobacco. However, smoking is still very prevalent in American society today. This new report revealed that even more diseases and ailments are linked to smoking than we previously realized.
The 900-page report celebrated the progress the U.S. has made over the past 50 years, during which smoking rates declined by over 50%. The report estimated that these decreases prevented approximately 8 million early deaths and extended lifespans by two decades. According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, about 5.3 million men and 2.7 million women live longer thanks to tobacco control. Measures such as city and state bans on smoking in workplaces, restaurants, and bars have helped in bringing down the number of tobacco-related deaths.
Room for Improvement
Smoking remains the leading preventable cause of death, killing approximately 480,000 people each year. While smokers make up only 18% of the U.S. population today (down from what once was over half of the population) the percentage hasn’t fallen much in recent years. If the current trend continues, the U.S. will miss a 2020 goal of bringing this rate down to 12%.
Dr. Lushniak pointed to misleading campaigns by cigarette companies, weaknesses in regulation, and a greater prevalence of smoking depicted in modern media as potential reasons for the stagnant numbers. According to the report, portrayals of tobacco use in U.S. films rebounded in the past two years, which could be adding to the already-increasing rate at which teens and young adults take up smoking habits. In fact, the number of teens and young adults who start to smoke has increased since 2002. The prevalence of middle and high school students who used electronic cigarettes doubled in 2012, according to the CDC.
To achieve his goal of “a society free of tobacco-related death and disease,” Dr. Lushniak calls for more aggressive measures by regulators.
Still looking for reasons not to smoke?
You’re in luck. The Surgeon General’s Report listed some new ailments that have are now known to be causally linked to smoking:
- Erectile dysfunction
- Age-related macular degeneration
- Colorectal cancer
- Liver Cancer
- Cleft palate (in children born to mothers who smoked during pregnancy)
- Ectopic pregnancy
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Impaired immune function
- Exposure to secondhand smoke is now a known cause of stroke.
In short, cigarettes are truly the definition of a dangerous product. The risks far outweigh the benefits. Banning smoking will never work. It is truly up to each individual to decide for themselves. We hope this additional information will help.Sources: