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1964 Surgeon General report on smoking has almost cut U.S. smoking population in half

By Gina DiFalco,

Since the 1964 Surgeon General report by Dr. Luther Terry on the dangers of smoking came out 50 years ago, more than eight million lives have been saved in the U.S.

At that time, over one third of women and half of men in the U.S. were smokers. That changed when the severe side effects were revealed, such as its correlation to lung cancer and even death.

According to Reuters a new study indicates that the amount of smokers have been cut in half, although there were still 17.7 million smoking-related deaths from 1964 to 2012. A study conducted by Theodore Holford of the Yale School of Public Health in New Haven, Connecticut concludes that another 8 million people would’ve died on top of that had the Surgeon General warning not have come out.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that approximately 42 million Americans are still smokers.

USA Today notes the power of the Surgeon General warning, saying in the year 1958, only 44 percent of Americans though smoking could lead to lung cancer. By the year 1988, that statistic had risen 78 percent.

image: Wikimedia Commons

 

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