Today the U.S. Surgeon General’s office released a report commemorating the 50th anniversary of its first report on smoking and health. The new report discusses progress made in reducing tobacco’s harm since 1964, and shares recent findings on the health harms of smoking.
The report was the opening shot in an ongoing public health fight against tobacco. Today, the national smoking rate has fallen to 19 percent (down from 42 percent in 1964), and it’s estimated that 8 million American lives have been saved by initiatives that began with the Surgeon General’s report.
ClearWay Minnesota has helped create many of those initiatives in our state. These include the statewide Freedom to Breathe Act and cigarette tax increases, free QUITPLAN Services to help Minnesotans quit tobacco and media campaigns that remind the public about tobacco’s dangers. Despite these advances, tobacco remains a big problem in Minnesota, with 625,000 adults and 77,000 kids using it every year.