January 1964, the Surgeon General declared that cigarette smoking increases risk of cancer and deaths. This landmark report by the U.S. Surgeon General 50 years ago this month, launched the anti-smoking movement. Yes, fewer Americans smoke today – about 18% of all adults, down from more than 42% in 1964. But our government may not reach it’s goal of dropping that rate to 12% by 2020.
And WHY NOT? In going out on a limb here, and although I embrace that we all are entitled to our freedoms, but at what cost? I feel our government has failed in giving the tobacco industry too much liberty and has failed the pubic with improper health education. I mean 50 years…really?
Let’s look at the facts:
- 21 million Americans have died from smoke related diseases since then and 3 million of those died because of secondhand smoke!
- Today, heart disease actually claims more lives of smokers 35 and older than lung cancer does. Reported by the Surgeon General, secondhand smoke is riskier for your heart, increasing the chance of stroke in non-smokers.
- Doctors now know that smoking impacts nearly every organ of the body. Reported this month, medical care for smoking caused illness costs the country more than $130 MILION A YEAR!
- The tobacco industry continues to introduce and market new products that establish and maintain nicotine addictions. This month’s report said the percentage of middle and high school students who use electronic or e-cigarettes more than doubled between 2011 and 2012.
I find it frustrating and unbelievable that we still have 18% of the American population willing to harm themselves and OTHERS at the cost of tax payers.
As of this month, we can also add diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and erectile dysfunction to the list with cancers and heart disease caused by cigarette smoking.
When will we have enough?
Statistically, we know that increasing the cost of cigarettes is one of the most powerful interventions we can make. For every 10% increase in price, there is a 4% drop in smokers. As of 2012 the average price for a pack of cigarettes was $6.
OK, well based on that statistic, let’s raise the price to $10 a pack and be done!
The industry will be happy and so will the non-smokers and all tax payers who foot the 130 million dollar bill each year.