By Kate Jacobson | January 24, 2020
U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams released a new report Thursday on smoking cessation. The purpose of the report was to expand and update parts of the 1990 Surgeon General Report on Smoking Cessation, a landmark report on the health benefits of smoking cessation.
The report, which took three years to compile, shows that smoking is at a historic low. About 14% of Americans reported smoking—down from 43% from a similar 1963 report. While this is an important milestone, Adams said there’s still a long way to go.
“This decline represents one of the greatest public health achievements in the past century,” Adams said at a press conference on Thursday. “This issue is very, very personal to me, as I lost both of my grandfathers to smoking related illnesses. I often wonder if both of them or at least one of them would’ve lived to see my grandchild and my great grandchildren if they would’ve ended up quitting.”
Some of the major conclusions include:
- Smoking cessation is beneficial at any age.
- It reduces the risk of premature death and adverse health effects, including cardiovascular disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and cancer.
- More than three out of five U.S. adults who have ever smoked cigarettes have quit. Although a majority of cigarette smokers have made a quit attempt each year, less than one-third use cessation medications approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration or behavioral counseling to support quit attempts.
- Increasing the price of cigarettes and adopting comprehensive smoke-free policies can increase smoking cessation.
Adams said one of the most surprising things to him was that smoking cessation can add up to 10 years of life for a person. The report shows many effective policies and strategies for smoking and gives further insights into the smoking patterns of people across different ages, genders, socioeconomic status and location.
The report says smoking-related costs in U.S. are about $300 billion. Increasing smoking cessation will have a significant impact on the U.S. health care system.
“This is not just a toll on our personal and physical health, smoking takes a toll on our economy and our nation,” Adams said.
To read the full report, please visit the Department of Health and Human Services’ website.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Smoking Cessation. A Report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health, 2020.