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50th Anniversary of the Surgeon General’s Report on Smoking and Health

Posted on January 13, 2014

Fifty years ago this past weekend, Dr. Luther Terry released the landmark Surgeon General’s Report – the first of its kind on smoking and health – concluding that smoking causes lung cancer. In the five decades since, we’ve learned: that smoking damages nearly every organ in the body; it is responsible for an enormous burden of disease, death and economic cost in the United States; and, exposure to secondhand smoke can have devastating health consequences. Yet, since this first report was released, we’ve also shifted the perception of smoking from an accepted national pastime to a discouraged threat to health – and more than halved smoking rates in this country.

Later this month, we will release a new Surgeon General’s Report that will highlight 50 years of progress in tobacco control and prevention, present new data on the health consequences of tobacco use, and detail initiatives that can end the tobacco epidemic in the United States.

While significant progress has been made over the last 50 years, the battle is not yet won. I am extremely proud of the Obama Administration’s tobacco control record – from expanding access to cessation services without cost-sharing through the Affordable Care Act, to giving the Food and Drug Administration comprehensive authority to regulate tobacco products through the Tobacco Control Act. But ending the devastation of tobacco-related illness and death is not in the jurisdiction of any one entity. To end the tobacco epidemic, we must enlist all sectors of society to share in this responsibility. Together we can make the next generation tobacco-free.

To read Acting Surgeon General Dr. Boris D. Lushniak’s statement visit: http://www.hhs.gov/news/press/2014pres/01/20140110c.html

To read CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden’s statement visit: http://www.hhs.gov/news/press/2014pres/01/20140110d.html