New Surgeon General 's Report Sets Path Forward to End Tobacco Epidemic

Statement from John R. Seffrin, PhD, chief executive officer of the American Cancer Society and its advocacy affiliate, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network

January 17, 2014

ATLANTA) January 17, 2014 The U.S. Surgeon General 's Report on the Health Consequences of Smoking released today celebrates progress in reducing tobacco 's toll over the past 50 years and offers a prescription for ending the epidemic of death and disease caused by tobacco products.

This new report details how the unscrupulous, unrelenting efforts of the tobacco industry hooked generations of Americans on its deadly products, prematurely killing nearly 21 million people since 1964 a death toll that continues to grow by 480,000 each year. Nearly 6 million U.S. children our sons, daughters, nieces and nephews will die prematurely from tobacco use. And, tobacco use costs the economy more than $289 billion every year in health care and lost productivity costs.

The new Surgeon General 's report lays out a bold 'tobacco endgame ' that is both possible and necessary to achieve with widespread implementation of proven tobacco control polices comprehensive smoke-free laws, significant tobacco tax increases, fully funded tobacco prevention and cessation programs and ξspecific actions such as mandating the reduction of nicotine in tobacco to non-addictive levels. These strategies can help the 70 percent of smokers more than 31 million people who say they want to put their cigarettes and tobacco away forever and quit for good.

The historic 1964 U.S. Surgeon General 's Report on Smoking and Health marked the beginning of a national, and now global, effort to end the deadly scourge of tobacco use. The American Cancer Society is proud to have played an important and prominent role in the development of the 1964 report, by conducting studies in the 1950s that helped identify cigarette smoking as a cause of cancer and heart disease, joining with our public health partners in 1961 in urging the Kennedy Administration to form a committee to äóÖstudy the smoking problem ' and providing the key longitudinal data which enabled the committee formed by then-Surgeon General Luther L. Terry to reach the momentous conclusions that it did.

The Society and its advocacy affiliate, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN), are leading the nationwide effort to end the tobacco epidemic through public education, scientific research and advocacy. It is imperative that we establish a nationwide movement to make the tobacco endgame a reality and ensure that ending death and disease from tobacco use does not take another 50 years.


About the American Cancer Society

The American Cancer Society is a global grassroots force of more than three million volunteers saving lives and fighting for every birthday threatened by every cancer in every community. As the largest voluntary health organization, the Society's efforts have contributed to a 20 percent decline in cancer death rates in the U.S. since 1991, and a 50 percent drop in smoking rates. Thanks in part to our progress nearly 14 million Americans who have had cancer and countless more who have avoided it will celebrate more birthdays this year. As we mark our 100th birthday in 2013, we're determined to finish the fight against cancer. We're finding cures as the nation 'sξ largest private, not-for-profit investor in cancer research, ensuring people facing cancer have the help they need and continuing the fight for access to quality health care, lifesaving screenings, clean air, and more. For more information, to get help, or to join the fight, call us anytime, day or night, at 1-800-227-2345

About The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network

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


Lauren Walens or Elissa McCrary

American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network or American Cancer Society

Phone: (202) 661-5763 or (404) 417-5823

Email: [email protected] or [email protected]

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