Click here to close now.


News Feed Item

5.6 Million Kids Alive Today Will Die Prematurely From Smoking

Legacy Foundation: 50th Anniversary of the 1964 Surgeon General's Report on Smoking and Health Underscores the Urgency to Eliminate Burned Tobacco Cigarettes, Save the Next Generation

WASHINGTON, Jan. 17, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today's release of the US Surgeon General's Report on Smoking and Health is a watershed moment, marking the 50th anniversary since the first report in 1964 that forever changed Americans' understanding of the deadly consequences of tobacco use and made the phrase "Surgeon General's Report" a brand with the power to affect one of our country's greatest achievements in public health. But, 50 years later, this new report warns that unless we increase the efforts we know work and continue to utilize new ones, 5.6 million kids alive today will die prematurely of tobacco-related disease and nearly 500,000 Americans will die each year.


"The report is remarkable in its scope and content," said Legacy's CEO and President, Robin L. Koval. "It emphasizes that the disease risks associated with tobacco consumption are far greater than ever reported previously--finding that cigarette smoking may cause colorectal cancer; that secondhand smoke causes stroke; and that smoking is now linked to diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis. And for young people who typically pay less attention to the risk of disease, smoking is now linked to erectile dysfunction and reduced fertility.   If ever there was  a clarion for even stronger action, this is it.  Fortunately, we know what works to drive down tobacco consumption – bold tobacco education programs, clean indoor air laws, and higher taxes. We must work harder  than ever to reach our '10 in 10' goal of reducing smoking prevalance to below 10% by 2024."

Perhaps most significant, the report makes a bold call to eliminate combusted tobacco products –  burned tobacco cigarettes - which are the root cause of most tobacco-related diseases and deaths.  Citing Dr. Robert N. Proctor, author of The Golden Holocaust: Origins of the Cigarette Catastrophe and the Case for Abolition, the Surgeon General states:

"The scientific evidence is incontrovertible: inhal­ing the combustion compounds from tobacco smoke, particularly from cigarettes, is deadly. It has been stated that 'The cigarette is also a defective product, meaning not just dangerous but unreasonably dangerous, killing half its long-term users. And addictive by design.'"

"This is a powerful new statement from the Surgeon General.  It's the burning of tobacco, and not the nicotine per se, that produces the highly toxic tars and carbon monoxide gas that damages precious body parts. Whether you burn tobacco in a cooler form (menthol), through a hookah waterpipe, or via a flavored cigarrillo – any type of burning is lethal.  Tobacco has been wedded to our history since the founding of our nation, but it's high time we part with this history and close this chapter," said Dr. David Abrams, Executive Director of Legacy's Schroeder Institute on Tobacco Research and Policy Studies, and a contributor to the report.

The Surgeon General is especially pointed in the report's assessment of the US tobacco industry, finding that "The tobacco epidemic was initiated and has been sustained by the aggressive strategies of the tobacco industry, which has deliberately misled the public on the risks of smoking cigarettes."

While there is much yet to be done, it is undeniable that the social norm change that has occurred since 1964 surrounding the issue of tobacco use is nothing short of extraordinary.  Throughout the nation, in cities and states from coast to coast, smoking in public transit, at sporting events, in public parks and beaches and at restaurants and bars is no longer the norm.  And yet, tobacco remains the No. 1 preventable cause of death in our country, impacting millions of families, hurting our communities and costing the nation more than $289 billion each year. It remains the Mount Everest of public health missions.

"Tobacco remains our nation's number one public health climb," said Koval.  "But, like Mount Everest, we know what it will take to get to the top and solve this problem once and for all and leave a legacy to the future of a population unburdened by the death, disease and dollar cost of tobacco – Generation Free."

Five decades of work in tobacco control illustrate what works: comprehensive programs that include prevention and cessation initiatives, such as bold anti-tobacco public education campaigns, as well as tobacco excise taxes and clean indoor air initiatives. Among adult smokers, nearly 90 percent tried their first cigarettes before the age of 18. Youth prevention is an essential element in the fight against tobacco. National and evidence-based public education campaigns, like the truth® youth smoking prevention campaign are a key component in reducing youth and young adult tobacco use. The report highlights the need for us to continue to work to limit flavorings like menthol in cigarettes as well as other attractively packaged and youth-friendly flavors like grape, strawberry and vanilla-flavored little cigars and cigarillos which are on the rise among kids. The tobacco industry – smart marketers for generations - is ever-evolving and continues to find new ways to reach the next generation of smokers – replacing the 1,200 smokers who die from tobacco-related diseases each day.  And, despite restrictions on tobacco advertising to youth, young people are still exposed to what appears to be pro-smoking messaging in movies and television on a daily basis, influencing them to model the behavior of actors and celebrities who smoke on-screen.

The report reiterates how certain segments of the population continue to be at higher risk of using tobacco and contracting tobacco-related diseases. Tobacco-use disparities are associated with overall health disparities that dramatically shorten the life expectancy and quality of life of the poor. This inequity is a matter of social justice, impacting people who tend to be less educated, less affluent, and may come from specific ethnic or minority groups. While broader societal advances are indeed a positive step, large segments of the population continue to be tragically left behind.

"Our challenge now is to re-double our efforts because the hardest, but most rewarding part of the climb still lies ahead," added Koval. "We resolve to finish the work begun by Dr. Luther Terry and so many others in 1964. We're closer than ever to Generation Free– the first smoke-free population in history," she said.

Legacy helps people live longer, healthier lives by building a world where young people reject tobacco and anyone can quit. Legacy's proven-effective and nationally recognized public education programs include truth®, the national youth smoking prevention campaign that has been cited as contributing to significant declines in youth smoking; EX®, an innovative public health program designed to speak to smokers in their own language and change the way they approach quitting; and research initiatives exploring the causes, consequences and approaches to reducing tobacco use. Located in Washington, D.C., the foundation was created as a result of the November 1998 Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) reached between attorneys general from 46 states, five U.S. territories and the tobacco industry. To learn more about Legacy's life-saving programs, visit

Follow us on Twitter @legacyforhealth and Facebook

To view an interview with Michael Terry, the son of Surgeon General Dr. Luther Terry, visit here:

To see more Legacy resources commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the Surgeon General's landmark 1964 report, visit here:


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
SYS-CON Events announced today that Secure Infrastructure & Services will exhibit at SYS-CON's 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Secure Infrastructure & Services (SIAS) is a managed services provider of cloud computing solutions for the IBM Power Systems market. The company helps mid-market firms built on IBM hardware platforms to deploy new levels of reliable and cost-effective computing and hig...
When it comes to IoT in the enterprise, namely the commercial building and hospitality markets, a benefit not getting the attention it deserves is energy efficiency, and IoT’s direct impact on a cleaner, greener environment when installed in smart buildings. Until now clean technology was offered piecemeal and led with point solutions that require significant systems integration to orchestrate and deploy. There didn't exist a 'top down' approach that can manage and monitor the way a Smart Buildi...
In his session at @ThingsExpo, Tony Shan, Chief Architect at CTS, will explore the synergy of Big Data and IoT. First he will take a closer look at the Internet of Things and Big Data individually, in terms of what, which, why, where, when, who, how and how much. Then he will explore the relationship between IoT and Big Data. Specifically, he will drill down to how the 4Vs aspects intersect with IoT: Volume, Variety, Velocity and Value. In turn, Tony will analyze how the key components of IoT ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that IBM Cloud Data Services has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 17th Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. IBM Cloud Data Services offers a portfolio of integrated, best-of-breed cloud data services for developers focused on mobile computing and analytics use cases.
Today, we are in the middle of a paradigm shift as we move from managing applications on VMs and containers to embracing everything that the cloud and XaaS (Everything as a Service) has to offer. In his session at 17th Cloud Expo, Kevin Hoffman, Advisory Solutions Architect at Pivotal Cloud Foundry, will provide an overview of 12-factor apps and migrating enterprise apps to the cloud. Kevin Hoffman is an Advisory Solutions Architect for Pivotal Cloud Foundry, and has spent the past 20 years b...
While testing is often ignored when it comes to DevOps - it could be the most important aspect of achieving true DevOps success. Without rethinking automated testing from the ground-up, the entire DevOps productivity gain cannot be realized. Large tech companies build their own rapid test automation that runs in minutes across functional, performance, security and other tests. In his session at DevOps Summit, Kevin Surace, CEO of Appvance, will discuss how we learn from these real-world succe...
DevOps has often been described in terms of CAMS: Culture, Automation, Measuring, Sharing. While we’ve seen a lot of focus on the “A” and even on the “M”, there are very few examples of why the “C" is equally important in the DevOps equation. In her session at @DevOps Summit, Lori MacVittie, of F5 Networks, will explore HTTP/1 and HTTP/2 along with Microservices to illustrate why a collaborative culture between Dev, Ops, and the Network is critical to ensuring success.
SYS-CON Events announced today that has been named a "Bronze Sponsor" of SYS-CON's @DevOpsSummit Silicon Valley, which will take place November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. provides open-source software ELK turned into a log analytics platform that is simple, infinitely- scalable, highly available, and secure.
DevOps delivers remarkable results. But does it help all of IT? Can traditional ‘mode 1’ IT benefit as much as innovative ‘mode 2’? How about the rest of your business? Or have you just shifted your bottleneck? And if so, what can you do about it? Improving dev and ops is necessary, but not sufficient. It often just shifts the burden sideways (e.g., to PMs, SQA, InfoSec, DBAs, NOC, etc.), upstream (to the PMO, Controller, Business Liaison, etc.), or downstream (to TechPubs, Service Desk, Traini...
The enterprise is being consumerized, and the consumer is being enterprised. Moore's Law does not matter anymore, the future belongs to business virtualization powered by invisible service architecture, powered by hyperscale and hyperconvergence, and facilitated by vertical streaming and horizontal scaling and consolidation. Both buyers and sellers want instant results, and from paperwork to paperless to mindless is the ultimate goal for any seamless transaction. The sweetest sweet spot in innov...
Mobile messaging has been a popular communication channel for more than 20 years. Finnish engineer Matti Makkonen invented the idea for SMS (Short Message Service) in 1984, making his vision a reality on December 3, 1992 by sending the first message ("Happy Christmas") from a PC to a cell phone. Since then, the technology has evolved immensely, from both a technology standpoint, and in our everyday uses for it. Originally used for person-to-person (P2P) communication, i.e., Sally sends a text...
SYS-CON Events announced today that ProfitBricks, the provider of painless cloud infrastructure, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. ProfitBricks is the IaaS provider that offers a painless cloud experience for all IT users, with no learning curve. ProfitBricks boasts flexible cloud servers and networking, an integrated Data Center Designer tool for visual control over the...
“The Internet of Things transforms the way organizations leverage machine data and gain insights from it,” noted Splunk’s CTO Snehal Antani, as Splunk announced accelerated momentum in Industrial Data and the IoT. The trend is driven by Splunk’s continued investment in its products and partner ecosystem as well as the creativity of customers and the flexibility to deploy Splunk IoT solutions as software, cloud services or in a hybrid environment. Customers are using Splunk® solutions to collect ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Alert Logic, the leading provider of Security-as-a-Service solutions for the cloud, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 17th International Cloud Expo® and DevOps Summit 2015 Silicon Valley, which will take place November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Alert Logic provides Security-as-a-Service for on-premises, cloud, and hybrid IT infrastructures, delivering deep security insight and continuous protection for cust...
Organizations already struggle with the simple collection of data resulting from the proliferation of IoT, lacking the right infrastructure to manage it. They can't only rely on the cloud to collect and utilize this data because many applications still require dedicated infrastructure for security, redundancy, performance, etc. In his session at 17th Cloud Expo, Emil Sayegh, CEO of Codero Hosting, will discuss how in order to resolve the inherent issues, companies need to combine dedicated a...