Effects of smoking on health care costs.


Nair AK, Brandt EN Jr




J Okla State Med Assoc


Smoking is the leading preventable cause of death in the United States. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate that smoking kills approximately 419,000 people in the United States each year. Cigarette smoking is the nation's leading cause of premature mortality, and is responsible for one-third of all deaths among working-age Americans. Smoking cigarettes is both psychologically and physiologically addictive. Smoking is an important risk factor for cardiovascular diseases, especially coronary artery disease, stroke, carcinoma of the lung, chronic bronchitis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and emphysema. It also increases the risk for peripheral vascular disease and is associated with cancers of the larynx, oral cavity, esophagus, pancreas, and urinary bladder. Smoking by pregnant women can cause adverse health effects on their babies, like low birth weight and preterm delivery; increases the risk of miscarriage; and has also been found to be an important cause of sudden infant death syndrome. Careless smoking also can cause severe burn injuries and death. Many of these adverse effects of smoking occur in "second-hand" smokers.