THOMASVILLE, GA (WALB) - A new study shows that smoking is even deadlier than we previously thought.
The new findings are based on health data from nearly one million people who were followed for the past 10 years.
Health experts shared their advice for smokers and for non-smokers.
About 21% of Georgians smoke, a rate that almost mirrors the nationally average.
But a new study shows that smoking can cause a lot more health concerns than just cancer.
Southwest Georgia Public Health Epidemiologist Jacqueline Jenkins said, “Now they know that tobacco is linked to kidney disease and causes other infections and diseases in our bodies.”
These new findings validate Radiation Oncologist Dr. Steve Johnson's concern with tobacco use in South Georgia.
He said, “Mostly everything is higher in the south. And they like to blame it on fried foods. But it's a lot more on tobacco than anything else.”
The study adds at least five diseases and 60,000 additional deaths a year caused by tobacco.
Jenkins said, “If you smoke, you need to be aware that you're not just playing with lung cancer. Really, it can attack almost any organ in your body.”
Researchers found that smoking was linked to intestinal disease caused by inadequate blood flow, and heart and lung diseases.
Dr. Johnson added, “They found that health effects were worse the more you smoke. So that's how this study is very important because it's the first time it has shown a real dose response curve with other illnesses.”
But Dr. Johnson wants smokers to know there's still hope if you can quit the habit.
“If you can get a person to stop smoking at 50, by the time they're 60 or so, they have almost normalized,” he said.
And doctors want smokers to remember it's not just their health that's at risk.
Second hand smoke is just as dangerous.
They suggest speaking with your doctor about getting screened for possible diseases and infections.