We continue fight against tobacco use

January 18, 2014

Healthcare costs are a problem we read about almost daily. But we almost always forget or neglect to ponder the largest preventable cause of death and suffering (and also health-care treatment costs) remains smoking and tobacco use. And this is a problem we know how to solve. The most proven and effective strategies are raising the price, investing in the state’s tobacco prevention and cessation program (the Delaware Health Fund), and offering smokers the opportunity to quit with help whenever they seek it out without barriers and hassles. The first two strategies are also extremely crucial to keeping our kids from smoking, of particular concern to me as a pediatric cardiologist.

Fifty years after the release of the first Surgeon General's report on smoking and health, remarkable progress has been made. Since 1964, smoking prevalence among U.S. adults has been reduced by half. Unfortunately, tobacco use remains the leading preventable cause of disease, disability and death in the United States. In January 2014, the Surgeon General will release the 50th anniversary Surgeon General’s Report on smoking and health. The report will highlight 50 years of progress in tobacco control and prevention, present new data on the health consequences of tobacco use and detail initiatives that can end the tobacco use epidemic in the U.S.

Samuel Gidding, MD
American Heart Association medical volunteer

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