The surgeon general released a report on Friday detailing new health consequences related to smoking to mark the 50th anniversary of its landmark report tying smoking to lung cancer.
According to the report, more than 20 million Americans have died because of smoking since the first report was released in 1964, with some 2.5 million of those related to secondhand smoke. The reports says 100,000 babies have died in that time from complications related to their parent’s tobacco use.
Smoking causes 87 percent of lung cancer deaths in the U.S. It also causes colorectal and liver cancer, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and immune system weakness, increased risk for tuberculosis, impaired fertility, can cause cleft palates in babies of women who smoke during pregnancy, erectile dysfunction and age-related macular degeneration, the report found.
Smoking rates in the U.S. have declined by about half since 1964. However, the report says that even though today’s smokers smoke fewer cigarettes, they are at higher risk of developing lung cancer because of changes in the design and composition of cigarettes.