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8 million lives saved since surgeon general's tobacco warning 50 years ago
Date:1/7/2014

obacco control accounts for 29% of that benefit."

Using data collected by the National Center for Health Statistics from 1965 to 2009, the team recreated smoking life history summaries for groups born each year starting in 1890. These were used along with national mortality statistics and studies that followed large populations to calculate mortality rates by smoking status. This allowed them to estimate the impact of alternative scenarios for what might have occurred had the era of tobacco control never happened.

The tobacco warning was released by then-U.S. Surgeon General Luther Terry. It is seen by many as a pivotal moment in American public health and as the opening salvo in an ongoing effort to convince people to stop smoking.

Terry convened a committee of specialists who reviewed some 7,000 scientific articles and worked with more than 150 consultants to formulate the report's findings. It was released on a Saturday in order to generate maximum media coverage in Sunday's newspapers. Years after its publication, Terry referred to the report's release as a "bombshell."

The report has since spawned numerous other efforts at various levels of government to curb smoking. This has included the now-familiar Surgeon General's warning on the side of cigarette packages, as well as increased taxation, restrictions on advertising, and limiting public areas where people can smoke, along with programs and products to help people kick their smoking habit.

While the number of smokers in the United States has decreased significantly over the past several decades, there are still an estimated 44 million Americans who smoke, or about 20% of the U.S. population.

Today, smoking continues to claims hundreds of thousands of lives annually and is the single largest cause of preventable death in the United States.

"Tobacco control has been a great success story for public health. We have essentially cut in half the nu
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Contact: Helen Dodson
helen.dodson@yale.edu
203-436-3984
Yale University
Source:Eurekalert  

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8 million lives saved since surgeon general's tobacco warning 50 years ago
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