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Tobacco Smoke and Lung Disease: Who Is Susceptible?

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National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, Maryland

Ann Intern Med. 1986;105(4):607-609. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-105-4-607
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Tobacco smoking is considered to be responsible for about 85% of the deaths due to lung cancer and chronic obstructive lung disease and 25% of the deaths due to ischemic heart disease (1). Doll and Peto (2) have calculated that more than 40% of smokers will die prematurely from smoking-related diseases. These results have been obtained primarily from studies of populations. At the level of the individual person, challenging questions remain. Why, for example, does one smoker develop lung cancer; another, ischemic heart disease; a third, both diseases; and a fourth, no or minimal evidence of smoking-related disease? What proportions


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