Smoking cigarettes is even worse for your health than experts had previously thought, according to an extensive study in the US.
The report, which appears in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), claims that an additional 60,000 deaths a year and at least five diseases can be attributed to smoking, on top of the half a million annual deaths in the US with 21 associated illnesses.
After a 10 year study of almost a million smokers, the research concluded that smoking also significantly increases kidney disease, intestinal disease and increased risk of infection as a result of a lack of blood flow.
After analysing some half a million people from 2000 to 2011, it found that the risk of death for smokers from infections, kidney disease, and respiratory problems, which were not previously linked to smoking, is double that of non-smokers.
It also found that smokers are six times more likely to die from a lack of blood flow to the intestines – which will lead to other illnesses.
Brian D. Carter, an epidemiologist at the American Cancer Society and head author, told the NY Times: "The smoking epidemic is still ongoing, and there is a need to evaluate how smoking is hurting us as a society, to support clinicians and policy making in public health."