JAMA Study Finds Tobacco Control Prevented 8 Million Deaths Since First Surgeon General 's Report on Smoking 50 Years Ago

Cancer Patients, Survivors Continue to Fight for Proven Tobacco Control Policies to End the Scourge of Tobacco

January 7, 2014

WASHINGTON, D.C. January 7, 2014 More than 8 million premature deaths have been avoided and life expectancy has been extended for men by more than two years and for women by more than 1.5 years over the past 50 years due in large part to tobacco control efforts such as increased tobacco taxes, smoke-free air laws, marketing and sales restrictions and cessation treatment programs, according to a study released in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) today. A statement on the report 's findings from John R. Seffrin, PhD, CEO of the American Cancer Society and its advocacy affiliate, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN), follows: Surgeon General Luther Terry 's landmark report on smoking and health in 1964 called unprecedented attention to the deadly consequences of tobacco use and represented a turning point in tobacco control in this country. Since then, public education campaigns and efforts to enact proven tobacco control policies have helped to reduce the smoking rate from 42 to 19 percent, and with it the nation 's most preventable cause of death. We have made significant progress against tobacco use over the past half century, but there are still nearly 44 million smokers nationwide, more than 3,000 kids pick up their first cigarette every day, and more than 443,000 people in America will die from smoking-related diseases this year. The main reason: The unscrupulous tobacco industry continues to oppose tobacco control efforts, challenge proven tobacco control policies in court, manipulate products to get around existing regulations, produce and promote new tobacco products and spend billions of dollars on marketing to deceive the public and to addict more kids. We have a lot more work to do to end suffering and death from tobacco use in this country. Half the population is not covered by a comprehensive smoke-free law, the federal tobacco tax is unacceptably low and virtually no state funds tobacco prevention and cessation programs at CDC-recommended levels. The ultimate conquest of cancer is as much a matter of public policy as it is a scientific and medical challenge. Continued strong implementation of proven tobacco control policies is paramount to our ability to put an end to death, disease and disability from tobacco. ACS CAN, the nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate of the American Cancer Society, supports evidence-based policy and legislative solutions designed to eliminate cancer as a major health problem. ACS CAN works to encourage elected officials and candidates to make cancer a top national priority. ACS CAN gives ordinary people extraordinary power to fight cancer with the training and tools they need to make their voices heard. For more information, visit FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT: Lauren Walens or Alissa Crispino American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network Phone: (202) 661-5763 or (202) 661-5772 Email: [email protected] or [email protected] #tobacco #JAMA #SGR50 #smoking #SurgeonGeneral #cancer #lungcancer #ACSCAN