Smoking: It Just Keeps Getting More Dangerous

As if the long list of health issues related to smoking hasn’t been scary enough, a new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine shows there’s even more of a reason to give up the habit. The American Cancer Society, the National Cancer Institute and four universities collaborated on the study, which attributes several more diseases and 60,000 more deaths a year to smoking. The new diseases that have been added include:

  • Kidney failure
  • Infections
  • A rare intestinal disease caused by inadequate blood flow
  • Heart and lung ailments that weren’t previously attributed to tobacco
  • Increased risk of breast and prostate cancer

These diseases join the already lengthy list of negative effects of smoking, including a higher risk for diabetes (heavy smokers are three times likelier to get type 2 diabetes), heart disease and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (chronic bronchitis and emphysema), a shorter life expectancy and changes to your appearance like yellow teeth and aged skin. And then there is cancer. Smoking is connected to cancers all over the body, including the respiratory system, reproductive system, digestive system, bone marrow and blood.

If you’re one of the 42 million American adults who smoke, this should give you even more reason to stop. Most smokers don’t succeed the first time they try to quit, so don’t be discouraged that kicking the habit hasn’t worked in the past. Eligible Blue Care Network and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan members can use Quit the Nic, a free year-long telephone counseling program. You can also call the Michigan Tobacco Quitline at 1-800-QUIT-NOW.

For more help successfully quitting, check out these blogs to get the tools you need:


Do you want to quit smoking? Make it a priority by heading over to #HealthyMe, a personalized web experience based on your health and wellness goals. To sign up today, visit
Photo credit: Gareth Simpson

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