US explores tobacco’s endgame, as report lists new known harms
Fifty years after Dr. Luther R. Terry first warned Americans about the dangers of smoking in his landmark surgeon general’s report in 1964, the federal government has made huge strides in persuading Americans to quit: Smoking rates among adults have plummeted to 18 percent, from 42 percent in 1964.
But this year’s surgeon general’s report about the health consequences of smoking emphasizes that the battle against smoking is far from over and issues a challenge to eliminate it altogether.
The report, which will be formally released by the White House on Friday morning, says, “For the United States, the epidemic of smoking-caused disease in the 20th century ranks among the greatest public health catastrophes of the century, while the decline of smoking consequent to tobacco control is surely one of public health’s greatest successes … However, the current rate of progress in tobacco control is not fast enough, and much more needs to be done to end the tobacco epidemic.”
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