Surgeon General's Updated Report: Smoking

Surgeon General's Updated Report:  Smoking Thumb

January 2014 marked the 50 year anniversary of the landmark 1964 Surgeon General’s report: Smoking and Health. Tremendous progress has been made over the last 50 years.  As the report states, “adult smoking rates have fallen from about 43% (1965) to about 18% today.” However, “cigarette smoking remains the chief preventable killer in America, with more than 40 million Americans caught in a web of tobacco dependence.”  Furthermore, the total economic costs from smoking now exceed $289 billion each year.

The Office of the Surgeon General just issued their latest report on smoking: The Health Consequences of Smoking – 50 Years of Progress. The full document, totaling 943 pages, can be downloaded at Additional information about the Surgeon General’s report can be found at


Even though cigarette smoking has significantly declined since 1964, 42 million Americans still smoke and tobacco has killed over 20 million people since the first Surgeon General’s report. The 2004 Surgeon General’s report concluded that nearly every major organ of the body in negatively affected by smoking and the 2014 report has provided even more support for such a finding. It was not until the 1988 report that cigarettes were declared addicting, similar to heroin and cocaine, primarily because of nicotine. Despite the decline in smoking rates, over 400,000 Americans die from smoking-related diseases each year and millions more are suffering from same. Yet, “smoking remains the leading preventable cause of premature death in the United States.”


“For 50 years the Surgeon General’s reports on smoking and health have provided a critical scientific foundation for public health action directed at reducing tobacco use and preventing tobacco-related disease and premature death.” Hopefully, greater progress or even elimination can be achieved concerning smoking in the United States over the next 50 years.

Feb 02, 2015