For the first time, an influential government panel is recommending a vaccination specifically for smokers.
The panel decided Wednesday that adult smokers under 65 should get pneumococcal vaccine. The shot is already recommended for anyone over 65.
Federal officials usually adopt recommendations made by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. The vote means more than 31 million adult smokers probably will soon be called on to get the shot. The vaccine protects against bacteria that cause bacterial pneumonia, meningitis and other illnesses.
Studies have shown that smokers are about four times more likely than nonsmokers to suffer such illnesses.