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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 CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden

Fifty years ago today was a tipping point in recognizing and reversing the deadly epidemic caused by smoking. The first Surgeon General’s report on smoking and health, released on January 11, 1964, made clear that smoking causes cancer. We now know that smoking also causes a wide range of disabling, disfiguring, and deadly diseases not only in smokers but also in people exposed to second-hand smoke and in children born to pregnant women who smoke.  We have also learned how addictive cigarettes are, and that quitting is the most important thing smokers can do to avoid heart disease, cancer, lung disease, and other smoking-related illnesses. We have made enormous progress in the past 50 years, preventing millions of deaths and tens of millions of illnesses.  But we have much further to go – tobacco remains, by far, the single leading preventable cause of death in the United States and the world.  More than 40 million adults and 3 million kids smoke in America today.  That’s why CDC developed the Tips From Former Smokers campaign, which harnesses the strength and wisdom of former smokers to inspire current smokers to try to quit. In 2012 this campaign helped more than 100,000 smokers quit permanently.  Most smokers have already quit and you can too.  If you need help, talk to your doctor or call 1-800-QUIT-NOW.

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 Acting Surgeon General Dr. Boris D. Lushniak’s statement visit: http://www.hhs.gov/about/news/2014/01/11/50th-anniversary-of-the-surgeon-generals-report-on-smoking-and-health-c.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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