In 1964, the Surgeon General’s report on smoking and health was the first document to link smoking with lung cancer and heart disease. The landmark report was first of more than 30 on smoking and tobacco use.
Following the publication, many Americans quit smoking and new laws required warnings on cigarette packaging and banned cigarette ads on TV and the radio. Since then, more initiatives to decrease tobacco use have included strong clean indoor and outdoor air laws, high tobacco taxes and community programs to help smokers quit cigarettes and prevent children from picking them up. Still, tobacco use remains the leading preventable cause of death in the US, killing more than 400,000 people each year.
This year, the US Surgeon General’s report will cover trends on tobacco use during the last 50 years. It will also discuss new findings on the effects of smoking and other tobacco use. Many expect the Surgeon General to propose a call to action and provide ways to end the menace of tobacco use.
The New Surgeon General’s Report
Besides cancer and heart disease, evidence from previous Surgeon General reports link smoking and secondhand smoke to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), pregnancy complications and children’s diseases. Currently, eight million Americans live with at least one serious chronic disease related to smoking. Medical expenses directly related to smoking and indirect costs of lost productivity associated with it cost the US economy about $193 billion every year.
There are still many people who need help in quitting–particularly those with lower income and those with behavioral health issues. As you consider New Year’s resolutions, remember that the North Shore-LIJ Center for Tobacco Control can help smokers quit. Contact us at 516-466-1980, or call the New York State Smokers’ Quitline at 1-866-697-8487.