APHA celebrates 50th anniversary of first Surgeon General report on smoking

Date: Jan 08 2014

‘Great progress, but more work to be done,’ says APHA on 50th Anniversary of Surgeon General’s Report on Smoking and Health  

Statement by Georges Benjamin, MD, Executive Director, American Public Health Association

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Washington, D.C. — “We celebrate the 50th anniversary of the groundbreaking Surgeon General’s Report on Smoking and Health this week.

“Released during an era when smoking was prevalent and tobacco use promoted as an acceptable part of a healthy lifestyle, the report led to dramatic changes in community norms and expectations. Since its release in 1964, the public health community has helped reduce smoking prevalence among U.S. adults by half. It is one of our nation’s greatest public health achievements that we celebrate today.

“Yet while we’ve made great progress, there is clearly more work to be done. Tobacco use remains the leading preventable cause of disease, disability and death in the United States. And we face continued challenges with new tobacco products such as e-cigarettes and flavored tobacco products and targeted marketing to children that could undo some of our progress.

“What we’ve learned in 50 years is that tobacco use is extremely harmful to you and others. Even tobacco residue and second-hand smoke present adverse health effects. Despite these proven health risks, we still have an industry that continues to sell a product that we know is harmful and from which children are at enormous risk.”

“This anniversary marks an important public health success, yet we need to make sure the victory we celebrate today is not hollow.”

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The American Public Health Association champions the health of all people and all communities. We strengthen the profession of public health, share the latest research and information, promote best practices and advocate for public health issues and policies grounded in research. We are the only organization that combines a 140-plus year perspective, a broad-based member community and the ability to influence federal policy to improve the public’s health. Visit us at www.apha.org.