Tobacco use remains the leading preventable cause of death in the United States and leads to a host of cancers and illnesses. A new report by the Surgeon General released today, The Health Consequences of Smoking, highlights a half a century of progress in tobacco control and prevention since the first report in 1964. The report also includes new findings on the health effects of smoking and a call to action on how to end the continuing tobacco use epidemic.
Journalists: Sound bites with Dr. Hurt are available in the downloads.
“We lose over 480,000 Americans every single year to tobacco-related diseases,” says Richard Hurt, M.D., director of Mayo Clinic’s Nicotine Dependence Center. “Cigarette smoke affects every organ system in the body. We’ve known for a long time that cigarette smokers have a larger number of polyps of the colon, which are the precursor to colon cancer. So it’s not a big surprise that now the committee is concluding that cigarette smoking is associated with colon cancer.”
Dr. Hurt adds, “The Food and Drug Administration needs to regulate tobacco products for the serious medical problem that they present, which is they kill over two-thirds of the customers that use them. What’s missing from this Surgeon General’s report is a clarion call to action with five or six very specific things that we know work and we can do tomorrow, if we had the political will.”
For interviews with Dr. Hurt, contact Kelley Luckstein, 507-284-5005.
More information about the report can be found in the 2014 Surgeon General's Report: The Health Consequences of Smoking—50 Years of Progress.