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Report Urges More Anti-tobacco Programs

Report Urges More Anti-tobacco Programs

WASHINGTON—Fully implementing proven antismoking programs and approaches could slash the smoking rate of teenagers and adults by half in the United States within the decade, according to “Reducing Tobacco Use,” a new report from the US Surgeon General.

The report stresses the importance of combining proven methods to substantially reduce tobacco use. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, “Reducing Tobacco Use” is the first in-depth analysis of the effectiveness of various tobacco-reduction techniques and assesses educational, clinical, regulatory, economic, and social efforts.

“During the past four decades, we have made unprecedented gains in preventing and controlling tobacco use,” said Surgeon General David Satcher, MD. “However, the sobering reality is that smoking remains the leading cause of preventable death and disease in our nation, and those who suffer the most are poor Americans, minority populations, and young people. Although our knowledge remains imperfect, we know more than enough to address the tobacco control challenges of the 21st century.”

The report was developed at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and released at the 11th World Conference on Tobacco or Health, held in Chicago. The report recommends:

• Implementing effective school-based programs, combined with community and media activities, which could prevent or postpone the onset of smoking in 20% to 40% of adolescents. Less than 5% of schools nationwide now have such programs.

• Changing physician behavior, medical system procedures, and insurance coverage to encourage full use of nicotine-addiction treatment.

• Passing and enforcing regulations barring indoor smoking.

• Improving tobacco-warning labels. Current labels provide little information about the ingredients, additives, and potential toxicity of tobacco products.

• Hiking tobacco prices and excise taxes. The report suggests that a 10% price increase will reduce overall cigarette consumption by 3% to 5%.

• Reducing the broad cultural acceptability of tobacco use.

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