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Wednesday, Aug. 9, 2000
Contact: Llelwyn Grant
or Perry Stevens
CDC Office
on Smoking and Health(770) 488-5493


Surgeon General David Satcher announced today that smoking rates among teens and adults could be cut in half within the decade if the nation would fully implement anti-smoking programs using effective approaches that are already available.

The announcement came during a news conference at the 11th World Conference on Tobacco or Health in Chicago, where Dr. Satcher released the Surgeon General's report on "Reducing Tobacco Use." It is the first-ever report to provide an in-depth analysis of the effectiveness of various methods to reduce tobacco use -- educational, clinical, regulatory, economic, and social.

"During the past four decades we have made unprecedented gains in preventing and controlling tobacco use," Dr. Satcher said. "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."

Health and Human Services Secretary Donna E. Shalala noted, "This report of the Surgeon General comes at a critical moment in the rapidly changing landscape of tobacco control, both nationally and globally. It offers a science-based blueprint for achieving our Healthy People 2010 objectives to reduce tobacco use and its health impact in this country. We must now work to commit the resources necessary to put this blueprint into action."

The report calls for the widespread use of approaches and methods, especially in combination, that have proven to be effective in substantially reducing the number of people who will become addicted to nicotine; increasing the success rate of young people and adults trying to quit tobacco use; decreasing nonsmokers' exposure to environmental tobacco smoke; reducing disparities related to tobacco use and its health effects among different population groups; and decreasing the future health burden of tobacco-related disease and death.

Although the report was developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention primarily to guide decisions about effective tobacco control programs in the United States, the report's analyses and findings have clear application globally.

"We estimate that the number of smoking-related deaths worldwide will rise to 10 million per year by 2030, with 70 percent of these deaths occurring in developing countries," CDC Director Dr. Jeffrey P. Koplan said. "The CDC is committed to working side-by-side with other nations and international organizations, such as the World Health Organization, to create a broad framework to curb the global epidemic of tobacco-related disease. This report can be an important tool in supporting this global health initiative."

Key actions that Dr. Satcher outlined to reduce tobacco use, supported by evidence in the report, include:

"Failure to effectively use every intervention strategy at our disposal could mean turning back the clock on the efforts we've made since the 1960s to reduce cigarette smoking, one of the most notable public health accomplishments of this century," Dr. Satcher said. "We must respond aggressively to the serious challenges we still face: most importantly, the tobacco industry's continuing campaign to advertise and promote tobacco products. We need fair but aggressive measures to regulate these marketing activities, especially those that influence young people." He noted that the industry spent $6.7 billion in 1998 -- or more than $18 million a day -- to market cigarettes, despite the overwhelming evidence of the harm they cause.

A detailed summary of the Surgeon General's report, "Reducing Tobacco Use," and other related information is available on the CDC's web site: www.cdc.gov/tobacco. Copies of the Executive Summary and the report's "At A Glance" can also be ordered via fax by calling 1-800-CDC-1311 or by writing the CDC's Office on Smoking and Health, Mail Stop K-50, 4770 Buford Highway, Atlanta, Georgia 30341.


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