California Study Reveals Smoking Kills More People than AIDS and Diabetes
Researchers recently revealed that smoking is still a massive problem for public health in California. This brand new study by UC San Francisco’s Institute for Health and Aging and School of Nursing showed that smoking kills more people that AIDS and diabetes. It also creates more health care costs for state tax payers.
Researchers conducted this study over a three-year period and found that 12 percent of California’s adults use cigarettes daily. Smoking currently causes one in seven deaths in the state. During the three years that scientists studied tobacco use in the state, there were 34.363 deaths related to smoking and they involved cancer, heart disease, respiratory disease, and pediatric illnesses. By the end of the study, there were 17 times more deaths from tobacco use than AIDS and five times more smoking related deaths than those linked to diabetes.
Smoking related diseases also have a huge toll on the state’s health care system, with $18.1 billion in care for smoking related illness in 2009 compared with $15.8 billion just ten years earlier. These high numbers present further evidence that tobacco is still a major problem for California and greater efforts to promote smoking cessation are needed.
While national smoking rates are on the decline, California is still facing an uphill battle. Interestingly, big tobacco companies are heavy contributors to political campaigns in the state, with Altria and R.J. Reynolds increasingly making large donations. Some anti-cancer groups have pointed out that lawmakers that accept money from the tobacco companies have rejected multiple bills that could have reduced smoking and tobacco-related illnesses.
It’s also disheartening to see that some cities are cracking down on electronic cigarettes, further damaging local efforts to combat tobacco use. This summer, the San Diego City Council voted unanimously to ban e-cigs in public places. They also put new local laws into place that require businesses to obtain specialized permits to sell ecigs.
As cigarettes continue to kill thousands of California residents each year, it’s time for law makers to wake up and stop letting Big Tobacco dictate their votes. Rather than rejecting ecigs, officials need to take proactive steps to embrace vaping and the alternative it provides to tobacco users that cannot quit smoking independently.
Do you think California will make future changes to embrace electronic cigarettes or will they continue to let smoking drain the public healthcare system and cause many preventable deaths?