Welcome!

News Feed Item

New Surgeon General's Report Shows Cigarettes Are More Deadly Today than 50 Years Ago

WASHINGTON, Jan. 17, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The following is Statement of Matthew L. Myers, President, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids:

(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20080918/CFTFKLOGO)

Fifty years after the first Surgeon General's report on smoking and health, the new Surgeon General's report released today shows that cigarette smoking is even more hazardous than previously thought.  This report documents that smoking causes even more diseases, kills even more people and costs the nation even more in medical bills and other economic losses – by a wide margin – than has previously been reported.  There are three clear conclusions to be drawn from this groundbreaking report:

  • While our nation has made remarkable progress in the past 50 years and cut smoking rates by more than half (from 42.4 percent in 1965 to 18.1 percent in 2012), tobacco use continues to have a uniquely devastating impact on the health of individual Americans and the nation as a whole. Each year, smoking kills 480,000 Americans – causing about one out of every five deaths in the U.S.  It costs the nation at least $289 billion in medical bills and lost productivity, which is nearly $100 billion more than previously reported. Without urgent action to reduce smoking, 5.6 million children under age 18 alive today will die prematurely from smoking-caused disease.
  • Shockingly, cigarettes are more deadly today than they were 50 years ago because of actions taken by the tobacco industry.  The report concludes that smokers' risk of death from all causes, compared to those who never smoked, has gone up significantly over the past 50 years. It also finds that "today's smokers – both men and women – have a much higher risk of lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) than smokers in 1964, despite smoking fewer cigarettes" (Executive Summary, p. 1).  The report points to changes in the design and composition of cigarettes as the only reasonable explanation for the increased risk of lung cancer.
  • All of the deaths, diseases and costs caused by tobacco use are entirely preventable by implementing proven strategies developed over the past 50 years.  This report leaves no doubt that we know what to do to end the tobacco epidemic – significantly increase tobacco taxes, enact comprehensive smoke-free air laws in every state, conduct hard-hitting mass media campaigns, fully fund state tobacco prevention and cessation programs, provide tobacco users with access to treatments that can help them quit, and effectively implement the Food and Drug Administration's regulatory authority over tobacco products, including graphic warning labels.  We know what to do, but have lacked the political will required to get the job done. It is time to fight the tobacco epidemic with a level of urgency and action that matches the enormous scope of the problem. We cannot afford another 50 years of death and disease caused by tobacco.

Cigarettes Have Become More Deadly

The report shows that cigarettes are more deadly today than they were 50 years ago.  Its findings include:

  • During the past 50 years, smokers' risk of death from all causes, compared to non-smokers, has more than doubled in men and more than tripled in women. The report concludes: "The evidence is sufficient to infer that the relative risk of dying from cigarette smoking has increased over the last 50 years in men and women in the United States." (Executive Summary, p. 7 and 11)
  • Since 1959, the lung cancer risk for people who never smoked has stayed about the same, but the risk for smokers increased steadily.  The lung cancer risk increased tenfold for female smokers and doubled for male smokers. (Executive Summary p. 6)
  • The report links the increase in lung cancer risk among smokers to changes in the design and composition of cigarettes: "The evidence is sufficient to conclude that the increased risk of adenocarcinoma of the lung in smokers resulted from changes in the design and composition of cigarettes since the 1950s."  The increased risk of adenocarcinoma is the reason for the overall increase in lung cancer. The report adds, "The evidence is not sufficient to specify what design changes are responsible for the increased risk of adenocarcinoma, but there is suggestive evidence that ventilated filters and increased levels of tobacco-specific nitrosamines [a carcinogen] have played a role." (Executive Summary, pages 6 and 8)

It is deeply disturbing that 50 years after the tobacco industry and the public learned conclusively that smoking causes lung cancer, cigarettes are even more dangerous and pose an even greater risk of lung cancer.  Even worse, no government agency had the power to find out about it, prevent the changes that caused it or do anything about it until Congress granted the FDA authority over tobacco products in 2009.  In light of the new report, the FDA must make it a priority to regulate how tobacco products are made and take action to stop tobacco industry practices that make their products even more harmful or addictive.

Tobacco Kills and Costs Even More

The new report drives home the magnitude of the harm resulting from tobacco use, which is the nation's number one cause of preventable death. Key findings include:

  • Over the past 50 years, more than 20 million Americans have died as a result of smoking, including 2.5 million nonsmokers who died from heart disease or lung cancer caused by exposure to secondhand smoke.
  • The report adds several more diseases to the long list caused by smoking, including colorectal and liver cancer, diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis. In 1964, the Surgeon General concluded definitively that smoking causes lung cancer.  Today, we know that smoking causes at least 13 types of cancer.
  • Smoking causes 480,000 premature deaths annually among Americans, an increase from the previous estimate of 443,000. 
  • The economic costs of smoking are far greater than previously thought.  These costs total $289-$332.5 billion a year, including $132.5-$175.9 billion for direct medical care of adults, $151 billion for lost productivity due to premature death and $5.6 billion for lost productivity due to exposure to secondhand smoke.  Previous estimates put the annual economic costs at $193 billion, including $96 billion in health care costs and $97 billion in lost productivity.

A Road Map for Ending the Tobacco Epidemic

Last week, the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids and six other public health and medical organizations called for bold action to achieve three goals: 1) Reduce smoking rates to less than 10 percent within 10 years; 2) protect all Americans from secondhand smoke within five years; and 3) ultimately eliminate the death and disease caused by tobacco use.

The new report confirms that we have scientifically proven strategies to achieve these goals and lays out a detailed road map for implementing these strategies more aggressively than ever before.  Specific actions called for by the report include:

  • Continuation and expansion of national media campaigns such as the CDC's Tips from Former Smokers campaign and the FDA's upcoming youth prevention campaign. The report calls for conducting such campaigns "at a high frequency level and exposure for 12 months a year for a decade or more."
  • Increasing cigarette taxes to prevent kids from smoking and encourage smokers to quit.
  • Effective implementation of the FDA's authority over tobacco products "in order to reduce tobacco product addictiveness and harmfulness."
  • Fulfilling the Affordable Care Act's requirement that health plans provide coverage for tobacco cessation treatment, including counseling and medication.
  • Fully funding state tobacco prevention and cessation programs at CDC-recommended levels. Currently, only two states (North Dakota and Alaska) meet that standard, and most states fall woefully short.
  • Enacting comprehensive smoke-free laws that protect all Americans from secondhand smoke.  Currently 24 states, Washington, DC and hundreds of cities have such laws, protecting 49.1 percent of the U .S. population.

It is now the responsibility of elected officials at all levels of government to fully implement these recommendations.  The status quo is unacceptable.  We cannot and will not claim victory until every child is tobacco-free and we have eliminated the death and disease caused by tobacco.  It must not take another 50 years.

SOURCE Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids

More Stories By PR Newswire

Copyright © 2007 PR Newswire. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PRNewswire content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of PRNewswire. PRNewswire shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.

Latest Stories
In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Klein, CEO and Co-founder of Rachio, will discuss next generation communities that are using IoT to create more sustainable, intelligent communities. One example is Sterling Ranch, a 10,000 home development that – with the help of Siemens – will integrate IoT technology into the community to provide residents with energy and water savings as well as intelligent security. Everything from stop lights to sprinkler systems to building infrastructures will run ef...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Ericsson has been named “Gold Sponsor” of SYS-CON's @ThingsExpo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York, New York. Ericsson is a world leader in the rapidly changing environment of communications technology – providing equipment, software and services to enable transformation through mobility. Some 40 percent of global mobile traffic runs through networks we have supplied. More than 1 billion subscribers around the world re...
Increasing IoT connectivity is forcing enterprises to find elegant solutions to organize and visualize all incoming data from these connected devices with re-configurable dashboard widgets to effectively allow rapid decision-making for everything from immediate actions in tactical situations to strategic analysis and reporting. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Shikhir Singh, Senior Developer Relations Manager at Sencha, will discuss how to create HTML5 dashboards that interact with IoT devic...
Artificial Intelligence has the potential to massively disrupt IoT. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, AJ Abdallat, CEO of Beyond AI, will discuss what the five main drivers are in Artificial Intelligence that could shape the future of the Internet of Things. AJ Abdallat is CEO of Beyond AI. He has over 20 years of management experience in the fields of artificial intelligence, sensors, instruments, devices and software for telecommunications, life sciences, environmental monitoring, process...
Internap Corporation has expanded its OpenStack-based bare-metal Infrastructure-as-a-Service offering, AgileSERVER 2.0, to its data centers in Amsterdam, Dallas and Santa Clara, Calif. Launched in 2015 out of Internap’s New York Metro data center in Secaucus, N.J., AgileSERVER 2.0 is now available in four locations globally, enabling enterprises and devops teams running mission-critical applications and big data workloads to build scale-out infrastructure environments that are higher performing ...
You think you know what’s in your data. But do you? Most organizations are now aware of the business intelligence represented by their data. Data science stands to take this to a level you never thought of – literally. The techniques of data science, when used with the capabilities of Big Data technologies, can make connections you had not yet imagined, helping you discover new insights and ask new questions of your data. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Sarbjit Sarkaria, data science team lead ...
Much of the value of DevOps comes from a (renewed) focus on measurement, sharing, and continuous feedback loops. In increasingly complex DevOps workflows and environments, and especially in larger, regulated, or more crystallized organizations, these core concepts become even more critical. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 18th Cloud Expo, Andi Mann, Chief Technology Advocate at Splunk, will show how, by focusing on 'metrics that matter,' you can provide objective, transparent, and meaningfu...
Struggling to keep up with increasing application demand? Learn how Platform as a Service (PaaS) can streamline application development processes and make resource management easy.
If there is anything we have learned by now, is that every business paves their own unique path for releasing software- every pipeline, implementation and practices are a bit different, and DevOps comes in all shapes and sizes. Software delivery practices are often comprised of set of several complementing (or even competing) methodologies – such as leveraging Agile, DevOps and even a mix of ITIL, to create the combination that’s most suitable for your organization and that maximize your busines...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Peak 10, Inc., a national IT infrastructure and cloud services provider, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Peak 10 provides reliable, tailored data center and network services, cloud and managed services. Its solutions are designed to scale and adapt to customers’ changing business needs, enabling them to lower costs, improve performance and focus inter...
In the world of DevOps there are ‘known good practices’ – aka ‘patterns’ – and ‘known bad practices’ – aka ‘anti-patterns.' Many of these patterns and anti-patterns have been developed from real world experience, especially by the early adopters of DevOps theory; but many are more feasible in theory than in practice, especially for more recent entrants to the DevOps scene. In this power panel at @DevOpsSummit at 18th Cloud Expo, moderated by DevOps Conference Chair Andi Mann, panelists will dis...
Up until last year, enterprises that were looking into cloud services usually undertook a long-term pilot with one of the large cloud providers, running test and dev workloads in the cloud. With cloud’s transition to mainstream adoption in 2015, and with enterprises migrating more and more workloads into the cloud and in between public and private environments, the single-provider approach must be revisited. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Yoav Mor, multi-cloud solution evangelist at Cloudy...
See storage differently! Storage performance problems have only gotten worse and harder to solve as applications have become largely virtualized and moved to a cloud-based infrastructure. Storage performance in a virtualized environment is not just about IOPS, it is about how well that potential performance is guaranteed to individual VMs for these apps as the number of VMs keep going up real time. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Dhiraj Sehgal, in product and marketing at Tintri, will discu...
So, you bought into the current machine learning craze and went on to collect millions/billions of records from this promising new data source. Now, what do you do with them? Too often, the abundance of data quickly turns into an abundance of problems. How do you extract that "magic essence" from your data without falling into the common pitfalls? In her session at @ThingsExpo, Natalia Ponomareva, Software Engineer at Google, will provide tips on how to be successful in large scale machine lear...
SYS-CON Events announced today that SoftLayer, an IBM Company, has been named “Gold Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York, New York. SoftLayer, an IBM Company, provides cloud infrastructure as a service from a growing number of data centers and network points of presence around the world. SoftLayer’s customers range from Web startups to global enterprises.