Loneliness poses risks as deadly as smoking: surgeon general

Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy testifies in 2022 before the Senate Finance Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, on Feb. 8, 2022, on youth mental health care. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

WASHINGTON — Widespread loneliness in the U.S. poses health risks as deadly as smoking up to 15 cigarettes daily, costing the health industry billions of dollars annually, the U.S. surgeon general said Tuesday in declaring the latest public health epidemic.