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No Such Thing as a Safe Cigarette... Smoker

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Updated: August 26, 2006

Photo from www.imageafter.com
Photo from www.imageafter.com

Another study, another thorn in the side of smokers. People who choose to smoke already know it's bad for them, but a report released by the U.S. Surgeon General reminds smokers just how bad it is for everyone around them, too.

According to the report, entitled "The Health Consequences of Involuntary Exposure to Tobacco Smoke," even brief exposure to secondhand smoke can cause immediate harm to people's health. The report states unequivocally that secondhand smoke causes premature death and disease in children, as well as in adults who don't smoke.

We all know smoking causes lung cancer, but did you know it can cause colon cancer, too? Studies indicate that 12% of fatal colorectal cancers may be attributable to long-term cigarette smoking. (Learn more about smoking and colorectal cancer risk.)

However, the jury's still out on whether secondhand smoke causes colon cancer. The Surgeon General's report said the "associations between cancers, other than cancer of the lung, and involuntary smoking require further investigation before a determination can be made about the relationship of involuntary smoking to these cancers." Considering the evidence that does exisit though, it's probably wise to wait for the air to clear before snuggling up to the smoker in your life.

Related Research: Related Articles from About's Guide to Smoking Cessation: Sources:
  1. Colon Cancer: How is Colon Cancer Inherited? Genetic Health. 4 Aug. 2000. 23 Jun. 2006 [http://www.genetichealth.com/CRC_Colon_Cancer_Does_Colon_Cancer_Run_in_Families.shtml].
  2. Colon Cancer: What Causes Colon Cancer? eHealthMD. Oct. 2004. 23 Jun. 2006 [http://www.ehealthmd.com/library/colon-cancer/Colon-Cancer_causes.html].
  3. Colorectal Cancer Prevention and Treatment. National Foundation for Cancer Research. 23 Jun. 2006 [http://www2.nfcr.org/site/PageServer?pagename=cancers_colorectal].
  4. Detailed Guide: Colon and Rectum Cancer: What Are the Risk Factors for Colorectal Cancer? American Cancer Society. 7 Mar. 2006. 23 Jun. 2006 [http://www.cancer.org/docroot/CRI/content/CRI_2_4_2X_What_are_the_risk_factors_for_colon_and_rectum_cancer.asp].
  5. Overview: Colon and Rectum Cancer: What Causes Colorectal Cancer? American Cancer Society. 15 Mar. 2006. 23 Jun. 2006 [http://www.cancer.org/docroot/CRI/content/CRI_2_2_2X_What_causes_colorectal_cancer.asp?sitearea=].
  6. The Health Consequences of Involuntary Exposure to Tobacco Smoke: A Report of the Surgeon General. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 27 Jun. 2006. 28 Jun. 2006 [http://www.surgeongeneral.gov/library/secondhandsmoke].
  7. U.S. Surgeon General Releases Report on the Effects of Secondhand Smoke . NCI Cancer Bulletin. 27 Jun. 2006. 28 Jun. 2006 [http://www.cancer.gov/ncicancerbulletin/NCI_Cancer_Bulletin_062706/page10].
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