Women who regularly take aspirin seem to be at lower risk of the most common type of breast cancer

July 22, 2017

In addition to the 960-page printed report, The Health Consequences of Smoking, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released a new interactive scientific database of more than 1,600 key articles cited in the report, available through the Internet (www.surgeongeneral). The database can be used to find detailed information on the specific health effects of smoking as well as to develop customized analyses, tables and figures.

The database will be continually updated as new critical studies are published, allowing the surgeon general to determine on a regular basis whether the evidence supports a new definitive conclusion about smoking-caused disease. "Using this technology, once a threshold of danger is met, we can quickly alert the American people of new information related to smoking," Dr. Carmona said.

The report found that for a number of diseases and conditions associated with smoking, the evidence is not yet conclusive to establish a causal link. For these illnesses, which include colorectal cancer, liver cancer, prostate cancer, and erectile dysfunction in men, additional studies are needed to reach the threshold of evidence required by the Surgeon General's strict causal criteria to declare that they are causally related to smoking. These criteria were introduced in the 1964 report and have been updated in the 2004 report using new uniform standards.

For breast cancer, the evidence suggests that there is no causal relationship overall to smoking. However, the report notes that on a genetic basis, some women may be at increased risk if they smoke. More research is required to clarify the role of smoking in the cause and progression of breast cancer.

To help communicate the report findings as widely as possible, Surgeon General Carmona also unveiled a new animated Web site for the public showing the hazards of smoking and the benefits of quitting (www.surgeongeneral). In addition, a full-color, easy-to-read summary of the report has been developed for the public.

"The Web site and public summary of the smoking report are something that I am really proud of," Dr. Carmona said. "By preparing materials that people who don't have a medical degree can understand we effectively bring the science to people in a way they can use. Improving the health literacy of Americans by closing the gap between what health professionals know and the public understands will have a lasting positive health impact."

Copies of the full The Health Consequences of Smoking: A Report of the Surgeon General and related materials are available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Office on Smoking and Health, 1-800-CDC-1311, www.cdc/tobacco and on the surgeon general's Web site at www.surgeongeneral.