By Norris Aikens
January 11, 2014 marks fifty years since Dr. Luther Terry, Surgeon General of the United States released a report stating the negative effects of cigarette smoking. His announcement sent shock waves through the cigarette industry, smokers, and non-smokers alike.
For those of us old enough to remember, we were a cigarette society. Ash trays and cigarette vending machines were everywhere. Cigarette smoking was widely accepted in public places even court rooms, airplanes, and hospitals.
Many things have changed since the advent of the anti-smoking campaigns.
In 1965 Congress required warning labels be printed on each pack of cigarettes sold. During 1967 the Federal Communications Commission ordered TV and radio to provide free air time to anti-smoking public service announcements. By 1971 cigarette commercials were banned.
As a result of the documentation of illnesses caused by cigarettes, many law suits were filed resulting in multi-billion dollar settlements to individuals and states impacted by the negative health issues and costs related to cigarette smoking.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated 443,000 people die prematurely from smoking annually. Additionally another 8.6 million people live their lives with illnesses caused by smoking.
Bottom line-cigarette smoking has been deemed the single most cause of lethal illness and premature death. To quit smoking is the single most effective effort one can make to prevent untimely death.
At this time of year, many are challenged by New Years’ resolutions, some easy and some hard.
For all practical purposes, quitting cigarettes is hard. The habit runs deep. However, we applaud all who are endeavoring to make 2014 their year to become smoke free.
We congratulate you. Your children, grandchildren and loved ones truly Thank You.
Happy New Year.
For those who are determined to maintain their vow to quit smoking, please keep in mind there are people close to you (relatives, friends, etc.) counting on you to stay the course.