If you're a smoker, it's a probably a good idea for you to be vaccinated against pneumonia and meningitis.
The Cincinnati Enquirer has this AP story explaining why:
Studies have shown that smokers are about four times more likely than nonsmokers to suffer pneumococcal disease. Also, the more cigarettes someone smokes each day, the higher the odds they'll develop the illnesses.
Why smokers are more susceptible is not known for sure, but some scientists believe it has to do with smoking-caused damage that allows the bacteria to more easily attach to the lungs and windpipe, said Dr. Pekka Nuorti, a medical epidemiologist with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Pneumococcal infections are considered the top killer among vaccine-preventable diseases. It's a common complication of influenza, especially in the elderly, and is considered responsible for many of the 36,000 annual deaths attributed to flu.
While we're on the subject of vaccinations, now's a good time to get your flu shot before flu season hits.
The American Lung Association has this handy guide to finding flu clinics. Just punch in your zip code and out comes a list.