CDC: About 8.6M Americans Have Serious Smoking Illnesses

About 8.6 million Americans have chronic illnesses related to smoking (search), according to the government's first national estimate.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (search) reported Thursday that about 10 percent of current and former smokers have chronic smoking-related diseases. The figures come from a national telephone survey in 2000.

Half of the ill current smokers said they had chronic bronchitis (search) and a quarter said they had emphysema. Only 1 percent said they had lung cancer.

Among former smokers, about a quarter of those who were ill said they had chronic bronchitis or emphysema or had had a heart attack.

Previously, the CDC had estimates only of smoking-related deaths each year in the United States -- 440,000.