Fifty years after the release of the first Surgeon General's report on
smoking and health, remarkable progress has been made. Since 1964
smoking prevalence among U.S. adults has been reduced by half.
Unfortunately, tobacco use remains the leading preventable cause of
disease, disability, and death in the United States. On Friday, Jan. 17,
9:30 a.m. ET (7:30 a.m. Arizona time) the Surgeon General will release
the 50th anniversary Surgeon General's Report (SGR) on
smoking and health. The report 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 use epidemic in the U.S.
While Arizona tobacco control advocates acknowledge remarkable progress
has been made in the 50 years since that milestone report was announced
by the nation's chief health official, the reality is that a long road
still lays ahead.
Commenting on the future, Bill Pfeifer, President and CEO of the American
Lung Association of the Southwest, said, "We must renew our efforts
to eliminate the deadly effects of tobacco in Arizona. The tobacco
industry has shown over the past fifty years that it is highly skilled
at re-inventing itself in order to entice new generations of tobacco
users, especially the vulnerable young."
Wayne Tormala, chief of the Arizona Department of Health Services Bureau
of Tobacco and Chronic Disease, said, "While much progress has been made
to curtail the use of tobacco products, especially in Arizona, the
tobacco industry also has made great strides. It has become very clever
in its marketing tactics and exceptionally innovative in product
Sharlene Bozack, VP Government Relations for the Great West Division of
the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, Inc., acknowledged
that since 1964 when the first report by the Surgeon General was
released identifying smoking as a cause of lung cancer in men, "the
broader toll of tobacco use in our communities has become clearly
evident because, 50 years later, tobacco remains the leading preventable
cause of diseases, disability and death in our country."
"When the Surgeon General releases the 50th Anniversary
report, we expect new data on the health consequences of tobacco use, an
overview of initiatives that are working to stop this epidemic and a
summary on progress in tobacco control and prevention. However, whatever
the details, the fact is that there are still many Arizonans burdened by
their tobacco addiction; as such, our work continues," said Dr. Iva
Smolens, President of the Greater Phoenix Board for the American Heart
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