- By Dana Sparks
Tobacco Dependence: 45 Million Americans Still Lighting Up
Mayo Clinic's Nicotine Dependence Center (NDC) is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. As one of the first centers in the country to focus exclusively on treatments for tobacco dependence when it opened in 1988, the NDC has been at the forefront of the battle of nicotine addiction nationally as well as globally, offering the latest education and training programs, advancing research aimed at tobacco dependence interventions, and offering treatment approaches to tobacco users.
The founder and director of the NDC Richard Hurt, M.D., says, “As I reflect on the past 25 years, the key to our success has been the dedicated and innovative staff. The patients we see are in need of hope and help, and our team delivers care in a compassionate and motivating way.” Dr Hurt says while it's encouraging that the number of Americans who smoke has dropped to 18 percent, that still means 45 million adults are lighting up. He says a recent study in The Journal of the American Medical Association shows that 6 out of 10 current smokers, if they don't quit, will die of a tobacco-caused disease.
Journalists: Sound bites with Dr. Hurt and smoking b-roll are available in the downloads.
///SOT Sound Bite - TOBACCO A DEADLY PRODUCT (Dr. Richard Hurt/Director, Mayo Clinic NDC) “One of the questions we’re asking more recently is, why do we as a society tolerate a product that kills almost half a million Americans every single year? (TRT :09) That’s the equivalent of three fully loaded 747s crashing every day, 365 days a year, with no survivors.” [TRT :17]
- More than 50,000 patients from 64 countries have been helped by the programs.
- Its educational conferences, workshops and training programs have reached more than 15,000 health care professionals worldwide.
- More than 1,300 health care providers have trained and become certified Tobacco Treatment Specialists.
- More than 25,000 study subjects have participated in 110 randomized clinical trials and other research.
- The NDC played a leading role in the 1998 monumental legal fight in Minnesota against tobacco companies.