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Continued: Correction: Surgeon General-Smoking story

  • Article by: , Associated Press
  • Last update: January 23, 2014 - 12:30 PM

Here are some ways the smoking landscape has changed between the 1964 surgeon general's report and Friday's:

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1964: The surgeon general declares that cigarette smoking increases deaths.

2014: About 20.8 million people in the U.S. have died from smoking-related diseases since then, a toll the report puts at 10 times the number of Americans who have died in all of the nation's wars combined. Most were smokers or former smokers, but nearly 2.5 million died from heart disease or lung cancer caused by secondhand smoke.

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1964: Heavy smoking is declared the main cause of lung cancer, at least in men. "The data for women, though less extensive, point in the same direction."

2014: Today, lung cancer is the top cancer killer, and women who smoke have about the same risk of dying from it as men. As smoking has declined, rates of new lung cancer diagnoses are declining nearly 3 percent a year among men and about 1 percent a year among women.

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1964: Male smokers were dying of heart disease more than nonsmokers, but the surgeon general stopped short of declaring cigarettes a cause of heart disease.

2014: Today, heart disease actually claims more lives of smokers 35 and older than lung cancer does. Likewise, secondhand smoke is riskier for your heart. Smoke-free laws have been linked to reductions in heart attacks. Friday's surgeon general report also finds that secondhand smoke increases the risk of a stroke.

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1964: Smoking in pregnancy results in low-birth-weight babies.

2014: Friday's report says 100,000 of the smoking-caused deaths over the past 20 years were of babies who died of sudden infant death syndrome, or SIDS, or complications from prematurity, low birth weight or other conditions related to parents' smoking. And it adds cleft palate birth defects to that list of smoking risks to babies.

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1964: The more you smoke, the bigger the risk of death.

2014: Smokers are estimated to shorten their lives by more than a decade. But stopping can lower that risk; sooner is better.

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1964: That first report focused mostly on lung effects and couldn't prove whether certain other illnesses were caused by smoking.

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