Again last week we had updated data reported in the New England Journal of Medicine showing more that half of deaths among smokers are due to smoking related diseases that are in fact caused by smoking. These cancer heart disease and vascular conditions could be avoided by stopping smoking.
Life expectancy is substantially reduced among smokers. National data from the 1997 to 2004 show that smoker have their lives shortened on average about 10 years (see article). We recently redrew data from the 1930s that show this same impact of smoking shortening life (see article)
While death is one way to summarize the burden on society caused by marketing of tobacco, perhaps this misses the greater burden. We know from many studies here and around the work that smokers have more visits to health care providers, when hospitalized they stay longer, and if they work they have more sick days. Furthermore, smokers have lower quality of life compared to nonsmokers. So smoking is costing our business community through loss of productivity and higher health insurance costs driven by employees who smoke. Those who smoke have lower quality of life. We all pay for Medicare coverage of health services for those over 65.
Isn’t it time we stood up to the industry making cigarettes and marketing them to our fellow citizens, and agreed as a nation to implement the many proven strategies to reduce smoking in our communities?