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Dr. Campbell talks about health risks of smoking

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RALEIGH, N.C. -

This last week the surgeon general released a new report detailing the risks of cigarette smoking.

Since 1964, more than 20 million Americans have died prematurely from smoking, and tobacco use remains the leading cause of preventable death in the United States.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 443,000 Americans die each year from smoking-related illnesses, and each day, thousands of teenagers try their first cigarette.

Dangers of smoking cigarettes

Smoking has been associated with increased risk for lung cancer and heart disease for 50 years. A new report shows that smoking can cause liver cancer and colorectal cancer, the fourth-most diagnosed form of the disease in the United States. In addition, smoking is a cause of Type 2 diabetes mellitus, age-related macular degeneration, erectile dysfunction and rheumatoid arthritis. It can impair the immune system, worsen asthma and cause cleft lips and palates in fetuses. And exposure to secondhand smoke can cause strokes.

How it affects our bodies

Smoking causes generalized inflammation—inflammation is a key component in the development of cancers and heart disease and stroke—in fact inflammation is directly associated with heart attacks.

Smoking Cessation

Cigarette smoking has continued to decline among adults, from 42 percent in 1965 to 18 percent in 2012. The U.S. now has more former smokers than current smokers.

According to a study released last week by the Journal of the American Medical Association( JAMA) anti-smoking measures have spared an estimated 8 million lives in the country over the past 50 years and contributed to longer life expectancies.

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