A new study says smoking causes half a million deaths each year in the United States -- 20% of the nation's total deaths.
According to a report from Reuters Health, Dr. Brian Rostron, then of the University of California at Berkeley and now working for the FDA, studied data from a national survey to come to his conclusion.
He said 290,000 of those deaths are men, 230,000 women. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 2.5 million people die in the U.S. every year.
The study said those at the greatest risk of tobacco-related death are those between the ages of 65 and 74. Once other factors such as weight and alcohol consumption were taken into account, people in that age group were three times as likely to die from any cause if they smoked between one and two packs of cigarettes a day, compared to if they had never smoked.
The study is published in the journal Epidemiology.
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