The list of cancers that you can get from smoking continues to get longer—and the risk for lung cancer today is much greater than it was 50 years ago. Back then, the first word that many smokers heard about cancer came from the first Surgeon General’s Report on smoking and health (Smoking and Health: Report of the Advisory Committee to the Surgeon General of the Public Health Service), which was released on January 11, 1964.
This year’s 50th anniversary report (The Health Consequences of Smoking—50 Years of Progress: A Report of the Surgeon General) reveals that:
- Smoking causes colon, rectal, and liver cancer. These add to more than a dozen cancers already known to be caused by smoking, including a type of blood cancer (leukemia).
- Smokers are more likely to get lung cancer today than in 1964, even though they don’t smoke as many cigarettes. One possible reason is that filters and vent holes in today’s cigarettes may lead smokers to inhale more deeply. This may pull dangerous chemical farther into your lungs.
- Smoking keeps cancer treatments from working as well as they should for those who continue smoking.