Smoking
7:12 pm
Fri January 17, 2014

50 Years of Smoking Warnings

New Surgeon General's report reviews health impacts of smoking over the past 50 years.
Credit lanier67 via flickr
It's been 50 years since U-S Surgeon General Luther Terry issued the first report on the health consequences of smoking.   

On Friday, Acting Surgeon General, Boris Lushniak, released the 32nd report. Data in the document points to nearly 21-million premature deaths caused by smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke since that first report.  The causes include cancers, heart disease, pregnancy-related issues and residential fires. Even in the face of such staggering numbers, Mary Gillett, tobacco prevention coordinator for Guilford Co. Dept. of Health. says there have been dramatic changes since 1964.

"People, both youth and adults, are very much more aware of the dangers of tobacco," she says, "although I find that most people are not completely aware of all of the dangers. There's a host of cancers, not only lung cancers, associated with smoking, heart and cardiovascular disease, and sudden infant death syndrome, so I think the awareness is broadening. The second thing is there are half the number of adult and youth smokers than there used to be, but there's still a tremendous amount of work to do."

Gillette says the rate of youth smoking is holding steady, although its at the lowest rate ever in North Carolina. The tobacco prevention program in Guilford Co. is funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and has been going for more than 20 years.

One of the smoking cessation programs is Quitline , which Gillette says is available 24/7 in both English and Spanish. "You can sign up for a forward call program, and when you do that, it's really going to more than double your chance of quitting," she says.

Gillett says many people resolve to quit smoking in the new year, but since smokers often find it often takes more than one try to stop smoking, she says, "don't stop stopping!" 

Resources:

Quitline: 1-800-QUIT-NOW, or online at www.quitlinenc.com  
U.S. Surgeon General's 2014 Report on the Health Consequences of Smoking