Smoking 'causes 90pc of chronic chest diseases'
MADRID - Addiction to tobacco causes 90 percent of the chronic obstructive chest illnesses and affects 9 percent of the population over 40, a society of surgeons said Monday.
Jose Luis Alvarez-Sala, president of the Spanish Society of Neumology and Thoracic Surgeons, cited data from the National Office of Statistics which shows that obstructive chronic cases caused by smoking are linked to a quarter of the deaths in Spain .
In terms of people over 65, it causes 20 percent of deaths.
One in three people in Spain is thought to smoke, according to statistics.
Alvarez-Sala explained that the illnesses are only diagnosed in 22 percent of those people who have it and of them only 61 percent receive adequate treatment.
As well as this, he said the "patients don't usually take notice of the symptoms" and the "diagnosis is usually late".
Alvarez-Sala, who is a surgeon at the San Carlos Hospital in Madrid, said chronic obstructive cases are truly a problem of public health and have an "intimate relationship with consuming tobacco" and which requires a "great quantity of health treatment".
This problem affects about 1.5 million people in Spain and represents 8 percent of those who attend hospitals and about 11 percent of those who go for a first check-up.
Each patient costs between EUR 1,500 and EUR 2,000 to treat.