Cigarette smoking can be a cause for many more fatal diseases than just lung cancer, a new study by US Federal agency says.
Numerous other ailments that were only associated with smoking, such as blindness, diabetes, erectile dysfunction, rheumatoid arthritis, cervical, bladder, colorectal and liver cancers to name a few, are now found to be a direct result of smoking, according to the report published by Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The US Surgeon General's report on the health consequences of smoking is released at White House to mark the 50<sup>th anniversary of landmark report which warned Americans that cigarettes caused lung cancer.
The report states that cigarette smoke contains more than 7,000 chemicals and compounds, and hundreds of them are toxic, while at least 69 cause cancer.
Cigarettes have become more dangerous than in yesteryears when the CDC report was first released fifty years ago, even though the proportion of smoking population has drastically reduced from 42% back then to 18% at present, even as today people smoke fewer cigarettes than in 1960s.
Smokers today have a greater risk of developing lung cancer than they did about fifty years ago.
"How cigarettes are made and the chemicals they contain have changed over the years, and some of those changes may be a factor in higher lung cancer risks", said Surgeon General Boris Lushniak.
The study notes that the design and contents of tobacco products today make them more attractive and addictive than ever before.
Even though nicotine is the key chemical compound that causes and sustains the powerful addicting effects of cigarettes, so many other ingredients and design features tailored into the cigarettes make them even more attractive and more addictive.
Also the assorted powerful addicting elements of tobacco products affect multiple types of nicotine receptors in the brain.
Cigarettes today are more lethal not only in terms of addictive effects, but also in their capacity to induce more immediate biological defects, as modern cigarettes are designed to deliver nicotine more quickly from the lungs to the heart and brain.
Experts now know that active smoking can cause a common form of blindness called age-related mascular degeneration, facial clefts in infants, ectopic pregnancy, inflammation, and an impaired immune function.
Second-hand exposure to smoke leads to dysfunction and inflammation of the lining of the blood vessels, increasing vulnerability to stroke, according to the report.
UK Smoking Statistics
Ten million adults smoke cigarettes in Great Britain, which is about a sixth of the total UK population, according to Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), a UK public charity.
Forty years ago, the smoking statistics were much bleaker in UK, as nearly half of the adult population, 51% of men and 41% of women, were smokers.
About 22% of adult men and 19% of adult women in UK are smokers, and about 60% of the smoking population say they are addicted to smoking as they cannot go a single day without smoking.
In 2011-12, there were about 1.6 million adult hospital admissions in England with a primary diagnosis of a disease caused by smoking. The annual number of admissions has been rising steadily since 1996-97, when the number of smoke-hazard related admissions was 1.1 million.
Smoking in UK accounts for over one-third of respiratory deaths, over one-quarter of cancer deaths, and about one-seventh of cardiovascular disease deaths.
Every year, over 100,000 smokers in the country die from smoking related causes, according to ASH.