50 years after enacting tobacco control, 8 million lives saved

By Amanda Stewart,

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

The Surgeon General released the report “Smoking and Health” 50 years ago that first warned Americans against the dangers of smoking. Approximately eight million American lives have been saved since then by smoking control.

A study took a look at smoking rates from 1965 compared to present day. The smoking rate in the US dropped from 42.4 percent of Americans lighting up to 18 percent, nearly cutting it in half.

However, one in five Americans continue to smoke today and more than 400,000 die each year from smoking related illnesses, according to Healthline.

While the tobacco control efforts have not gone unnoticed, extending American lives by two decades, more people worldwide are smoking and the decline in smokers in the US has plateaued.

The four leading causes of death in the country: heart disease, cancer, stroke and lung ailments, are all tied to smoking, according to The Associated Press.

Thomas Frieden, director for the Centers for Disease Control, said that this is due to a number of factors. “Images of smoking in movies, television and the Internet remain common; and cigarettes continue to be far too affordable in nearly all parts of the country,” Frieden said.

The authors of the study call on authorities worldwide to increase tobacco control in order to save lives. The policy in the US alone has saved eight million.

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