Heavy smoking raises severe health risks

Researchers from Australia and the United Kingdom (UK) said each cigarette smoked a day by heavier smokers could increase the risk of contracting some diseases by more than 30 per cent. The results of their study is published in the journal ‘EClinicalMedicine’.


The research led by the Australian Centre for Precision Health based at the University of South Australia linked heavier smoking with 28 separate health conditions and found a 17-fold increase in emphysema, 8-fold increase in atherosclerosis (clogged arteries) and a 6.5-fold higher incidence of lung cancer.


Emphysema is a lung condition that causes shortness of breath. The researchers analysed hospital data and mortality statistics from more than 152,483 ever smokers in the UK Biobank to study how heavier smoking affects disease risk. Ever smokers include people who have smoked in the past.


According to the Chief Investigator, UniSA Professor Elina Hypponen, the risk of suffering respiratory diseases, cancers and cardiovascular diseases increased with each cigarette smoked per day.


Other authors of the study are Dr. Catherine King, Dr Anwar Mulugeta, Farhana Nabi, Ang Zhou (all from the Australian Centre for Precision Health, University of South Australia) and Professor Robert Walton from Queen Mary University of London.


The links between heavier smoking and emphysema, heart disease, pneumonia and respiratory cancers were particularly high, but the researchers also found associations with many other respiratory diseases, renal failure, septicaemia, eye disorders, and complications of surgery or medical procedures, the ‘Science Daily’ reported.


Hypponen said, “Tobacco smoking is the leading preventable cause of death worldwide and smokers typically die 10 years earlier than non-smokers. “Despite a global decline in smoking over the last 20 years, an estimated 20 per cent of the world’s population aged over 15 years are still smoking to-




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