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January 11, 2014
Contact: HHS Press Office

50th Anniversary of the Surgeon General’s Report on Smoking and Health

A statement by Acting Surgeon General Dr. Boris D. Lushniak

Today we commemorate the 50th anniversary of the first Surgeon General’s Report on smoking and health. On January 11, 1964, the ninth Surgeon General Rear Admiral Luther Terry M.D., issued a message which was unequivocal and unapologetic: “Cigarette smoking is a health hazard of sufficient importance in the United States to warrant appropriate remedial action.” Over the decades since 1964, no single issue has engaged the Surgeons General more than smoking.  Since 1964, 31 Surgeon General’s Reports have added to our understanding of the devastating health and financial burdens caused by tobacco use.

Despite significant progress, about 45 million people currently smoke in America, and tobacco use remains the leading preventable cause of death.  If you are one of the millions of Americans who smoke, I ask you to quit for your own good and for the good of your loved ones. Today is a great day to make the pledge and begin the path to health and wellness. Make January 11, 2014 a day for you and your loved ones to remember. Talk to your doctor or call 1-800-QUIT-NOW for help. 

As officers of the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, our mission is to protect, promote, and advance the health and safety of our Nation.  Today, fellow officers will join me in commemorating Dr. Terry’s contributions to public health through a wreath-laying ceremony at his gravesite at Arlington National Cemetery. Moving forward, we will continue Dr. Terry’s legacy of rigorous scientific inquiry and clear communication to the American public by releasing the 32nd Surgeon General’s Report later this month.

To read Secretary Sebelius’ statement go to: http://www.hhs.gov/about/news/2014/01/11/50th-anniversary-of-the-surgeon-generals-report-on-smoking-and-health-b.html

To read CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden’s statement visit: http://www.hhs.gov/about/news/2014/01/11/50th-anniversary-of-the-surgeon-generals-report-on-smoking-and-health-d.html

Note: All HHS press releases, fact sheets and other news materials are available at https://www.hhs.gov/news.
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Last revised: January 13, 2014

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