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The Health Consequences of Smoking - 50 Years of Progress: A Report of the Surgeon General

At a press conference on 1/17/14, Acting Surgeon General Boris Lushniak, M.D., MPH stated that approximately 5.6 million American children alive today - or one out of every 13 children under age 18 - will die prematurely from smoking-related diseases unless current smoking rates drop. The new report also finds cigarette smoking causes diabetes and colorectal cancer. Full Surgeon General's Report  and Kansas Specific Data.

Kansas Groups Respond to Surgeon General's Report
Half a century later, 1 of 7 Kansans die from cigarette use. On the 50th anniversary of the U.S. Surgeon General's report on smoking, one out of five Kansans smoke, and $1 billion each year is spent in Kansas to treat smoking-related illness according to a coalition or organizations.

Mariell Jessup, MD, president of the American Heart Association
"A person who smokes is two to four times more likely to develop coronary heart disease than a nonsmoker. Cigarette smoking doubles a person's risk for stroke. And 30 percent of all heart disease and strokes is caused by smoking."

Jennifer Cofer, Interim Chief Executive Officer for the American Lung Association, Plains-Gulf Region
When a state invests in a comprehensive tobacco prevention and control program, it provides the resources necessary to keep kids from becoming lifelong smokers and help current smokers to quit. It is time for Kansas to make that investment and see the return in health benefits for its residents."

Jeff Willett, Vice President of Programs, Kansas Health Foundation
"We must not think that tobacco use is a problem of the past. Tobacco kills more Kansans than illegal drugs, homicide, car crashes and AIDS combined. Treating diseases caused by smoking is one reason our Medicaid and other health care costs are out of control. Reducing smoking will save lives and money in Kansas. Kansans need to support efforts that prevent kids from starting and help adult smokers who want to quit."

Linda De Coursey, Executive Director of Tobacco Free Kansas Coalition
Growing up in the 60's in Kansas, I remember manual typewriters, rotary phones, and seeing my dad's eyes squinting against his cigarette smoke. We have come a long way and our country has made amazing progress in reducing smoking prevalence. But, we cannot declare victory because tobacco use is still the number one cause of preventable death."

New Report on Impact of Federal Tobacco Tax & Early Childhood Education

On Wednesday, September 25th, nine public health and early childhood education advocacy organizations will release a report detailing the national and state specific benefits of President Obama’s proposal to fund expanded early childhood education with a 94 cent increase in the federal cigarette tax (and proportional increases in taxes on other tobacco products). We estimate that the increase in the cigarette tax would prevent roughly 1.7 million kids alive today from becoming smokers, motivate more than 1.5 million smokers to quit, and save almost a million Americans a premature death from tobacco use. In addition, it would ensure that 2 million low- and moderate- income children have access to high-quality preschool. The report will provide estimates of these benefits for every state.

Links to Report and Individual State Statistics

President's plan to increase tobacco taxes will protect kids and save lives

Statement by Matthew Myers, Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids. April 10, 2013.

WASHINGTON, DC – President Obama today has taken bold action to protect our children from tobacco addiction and save lives by proposing to increase the federal cigarette tax by 94 cents per pack and similarly increase taxes on other tobacco products. We urge Congress to support this proposal, which would have as great an impact in reducing tobacco use among kids as any action the federal government has taken. It would be a giant step toward winning the fight against tobacco, the nation's number one cause of preventable death.
On top of the health benefits, the proposed tobacco tax increases would raise $78.1 billion over 10 years to fund early childhood education initiatives proposed by the President, according to the Office of Management and Budget.
Study after study has shown that increasing the tobacco tax is one of the most effective ways to reduce smoking and other tobacco use, especially among kids. Even tobacco companies admit in their own documents that tobacco tax increases reduce youth smoking, which is why they vehemently oppose them. Economic research has found that every 10 percent increase in the price of cigarettes reduces youth smoking by six or seven percent and overall cigarette consumption by three to five percent.
The health and economic benefits of a federal tobacco tax increase were confirmed in a 2012 report by the highly respected Congressional Budget Office. The CBO found that a 50-cent increase in the federal tobacco tax would raise substantial new revenue while prompting nearly 1.4 million adult smokers to quit by 2021, saving tens of thousands of lives and reducing health care costs, including for the Medicaid program. Based on the CBO's statement that a $1 tax increase would roughly double those benefits, we estimate that a 94-cent cigarette tax increase would prompt 2.6 million adult smokers to quit and save 18,000 lives by 2021.
In addition to these gains from helping current smokers quit, the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids estimates that a 94-cent increase in the federal cigarette tax would:
• Prevent 1.7 million kids from becoming addicted adult smokers
• Prevent 626,000 premature deaths from these reductions in youth smoking alone
• Save $42 billion in future health care costs from these reductions in youth smoking.
The increased taxes on other tobacco products would have additional health benefits, preventing kids from using harmful and addictive products such as cheap, sweet cigars and smokeless tobacco.
These benefits are also evident from the most recent increase in the federal tobacco tax, a 62-cent per pack increase enacted in 2009. As a result, cigarette sales declined by 8.3 percent in 2009 – the largest drop since 1932. Health economists at the University of Illinois at Chicago found an immediate decline in youth smoking after the 2009 increase – the percentage of students who reported smoking in the past 30 days dropped between 9.7 percent and 13.3 percent (reducing the number of youth smokers by more than 220,000). In the 12 months after the increase (April 2009 to March 2010), federal cigarette tax revenue increased by 129 percent (from $6.8 billion to $15.5 billion), even as cigarette sales declined.
Furthermore, national and state polls consistently show strong public support for substantial increases in tobacco taxes, with most polls showing voters favoring tobacco tax increases by more than a two-to-one margin. Polls consistently have found that large majorities of Democrats, Republicans and Independents and voters from a broad range of demographic and ethnic groups all support tobacco tax increases – as do significant numbers of smokers.
In short, a significant tobacco tax increase is a win-win-win for the country – a health win that will reduce tobacco use and save lives, a financial win that will raise revenue to fund an important initiative and reduce tobacco-related health care costs, and a political win that is popular with voters.
The President's proposal is exactly the shot in the arm needed to accelerate progress in reducing tobacco use, which kills more than 400,000 Americans and costs the nation $96 billion in health care bills each year. While the nation has greatly reduced smoking, 18.1 percent of high school students still smoke and nearly 1,000 kids become new regular smokers each day. Tobacco companies spend $8.5 billion – nearly $1 million each hour – to market their deadly products, often in ways that appeal to kids.
The tobacco tax proposal builds on other important actions the Administration has taken, including FDA regulations to stop tobacco marketing and sales to kids, the government's first-ever national media campaign to prevent and reduce smoking, and expanded insurance coverage and assistance to help smokers quit. Continuation of these initiatives, along with enactment of the proposed tobacco tax increase, can help create a future free of the death and disease caused by tobacco.

Michigan's WEYCO Led the Nation in A Controversial Move to Implement Agressive Non-Smoking Workplace Policies

Now You Can See The Actual Policies That Caused The Uproar!

Several years ago, WELCOA President Dr. David Hunnicutt, sat down with WEYCO (now a Meritain Corporation) CEO Howard Weyers to discuss WEYCO's aggressive policies to eliminate smoking from the workplace. Although controversial, many organizations have followed Weyer's lead -- and, to this day, many companies are still demonstrating remarkable health outcomes and cost-containment. See for yourself what the fuss was all about.

Download David Hunnicutt's Interview With Howard Weyers.

Download WEYCO's 2005 Smoking policies here.

Download WEYCO's 2005 Employment policy here.

A broken promise to our children

Only 11 states do worse than Kansas at prevention efforts aimed at keeping young people from smoking and helping smokers to quit, according to a report released on December 6, 2012 by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.

Please visit the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids website and read their annual Broken Promises report for this year and the Kansas Health Institute article where TFKC Executive Director Linda DeCoursey and Chris Masoner with the American Cancer Society are quoted.

Smoking bans cut number of heart attacks, strokes

Article was published in USA Today on November 14. Smoking bans quickly and dramatically cut the number of people hospitalized for heart attacks, strokes and respiratory diseases such as asthma and emphysema, an analysis out Monday shows.

Smoke-free laws are saving lives

Article was published in Time on October 30, 2012.  According to two separate studies, recent laws that limit smoking in public places are contributing to fewer tobacco-related hospital visits and deaths.

Links and information on smokeless tobacco facts

Web pages from sources such as the CDC, National Institutes of Health, World Health Organization and the peer reviewed journals of Tobacco Control and the Cancer Journal regarding smokeless tobacco facts. The information was gathered by Ginger Park with KDHE's Tobacco Use Prevention Program.

Health Effects of Smokeless Tobacco
The CDC Web site lists definitive evidence of the negative health effects of smokeless tobacco. In addition to the sources listed at the bottom of this Web page here are some additional (older) sources on the harms of smokeless tobacco:
• 1986 Surgeon General’s Report on smokeless tobacco
• Smoking and Tobacco Control Monograph 2: Smokeless Tobacco or Health, September 1992

Smokeless as cessation
Quitting cigarettes completely or switching to smokeless tobacco: do US data replicate the Swedish results? (2009 Tobacco Control)
Concludes: The Swedish results are not replicated in the United States. Both male and female US smokers appear to have higher quit rates for smoking than have their Swedish counterparts, despite greater use of smokeless tobacco in Sweden. Promoting smokeless tobacco for harm reduction in countries with ongoing tobacco control programs may not result in any positive population effect on smoking cessation.
Smokeless tobacco use: harm reduction or induction approach? (2004 Preventative Medicine) Conclusion: More study needs done.

Harm reduction
Harm Reduction Debatable article from CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians

Testimony from former Surgeon General Carmona on harm reduction

American Heart Association statement and summary of research on harm reduction
As a national nonprofit health organization committed to promoting tobacco control research and policy efforts, the American Heart Association does not recommend the use of (smokeless tobacco) ST as an alternative to cigarette smoking or as a smoking cessation product. Although the evidence is consistent with the suggestion that the CV risks are lower with ST products, ST products are not without harm.

There are some supporters of harm reduction in the health community including a 2001 article in Tobacco Control, however, even this article concludes that more study needs to be done.

New anti-smoking campaign being launched by Department of Health and Human Services

This Kansas City article for March 14, 2012, highlights a smoking cessation/prevention ad campaign that will focus on the health impact of smoking.  See the article for samples of the graphic television ads that will air over a 12-week period.

2012 Surgeon General's Report

2012 Surgeon General's Report - Prevention Tobacco Use Among Youth and Young Adults. Dr. Regina Benjamin, U.S. Surgeon General, released a report this morning on Preventing Tobacco Use Among Youth and Young Adults. Since 1964, this is the 31st report issued on tobacco. Dr. Benjamin stated, “We’ve seen the percentage of Americans who smoke steadily decline. In 1965, over 42 percent of Americans smoked. By 2004, it had fallen to just under 21 percent. But for all the progress we’ve made, tobacco use remains the biggest single threat to American’s health. It kills an estimated 443,000 Americans each year and every tobacco-related death is replaced by two new smokers under the age of 26." To obtain the Executive Summary, Consumers Booklet, Fact Sheets or to read the Full Report (900 pages) click on the link above.

New state taxes considered in New York for roll-your-own tobacco

This Syracuse Post Standard article discuses the impact of roll-your-own cigarette production in New York and of the NY governor's intention to increase the state tax on roll-your-own tobacco as a way to equalize the tax rates between these products and those of brand name cigarettes bought by the carton.

"The stores have a business model built heavily on a tax loophole: the gap in taxes between loose, roll-you-own tobacco and finished cigarettes.

But that gap could be closed soon: Gov. Andrew Cuomo last week proposed a large hike in the loose tobacco tax that will drive the price of do-it-yourself cigarettes nearly to the level of name brands.

In addition, New York City and the federal Department of the Treasury are cracking down on the machines.”

Return on investment yields $3 for every $1 put into cessation in Massachusetts

A study published January 6, 2012 shows that the a $1 investment in a comprehensive cessation program for Medicaid enrollers yields about $3 in health expenditures for cardiovascular hospital admissions.  In adtion, the funding also led to about a 10% decrease in the number of smokers who were Medicaid beneficiaries.  This study provides additional incentive to provide additional funding for cessation programs.

$5 saved for every $1 invested in state tobacco control programming

This newly published report detailing the Washington state tobacco prevention program shows savings of mor than $5 for every $1 spent on the program.  The irony is that after succeeding in efforts to reduce tobacco use, the funding for the state was eliminated in the last legislative session.  The study was recently released as an article in the American Journal of Public Health.

Punitive health insurance costs for people who are overweight or who smoke

This New York Times article outlines some of the steps employers are using to reduce health care costs--it includes making employees pay higher premiums or costs for employer-sponsored health plans.

Judge temporarily blocks graphic images on cigarette packaging

"A judge on Monday blocked a federal requirement that would have begun forcing tobacco companies next year to put graphic images including dead and diseased smokers on their cigarette packages."

In this Associated Press report, of November 7, 2011,  a federal judge just put a legal hold on the Food and Drug Administration's requirement for cigarette packs to carry graphic images that a show some of the deadly consequences of smoking.   As expected, the tobacco industry will use every legal means possible to maintain their efforts to market one of the most deadly products on the market today. This hold on efforts to display the hazards of smoking on the cigarette packets themselves will delay an effective tool to reduce or prevent smoking addiction. It is an ironic situation when so many other countries in the world are moving forward with similar graphic images, some even more forceful that the ones that the FDA was requiring.

Smoking rates in NYC down to 14% for adults and 7.2% for teens

This New York Post article from September 16, 2011 notes the dramatic reduction in smoking rates in New York City.  The article cites increased taxes, free nicotine patches and smoking bans in outside areas as contributing to the effort.  It also notes that the lung cancer rate for women has also declined this year.

More tobacco products being developed for sale

Kansas is not the only state on the receiving end of new tobacco product promotions, so is Colorado with RJ Reynolds marketing dissolvable tobacco products.  See this online article from the Association for Convenience and Retailing for more information on orbs, sticks and strips being manufactured by Philip Morris and RJ Reynolds and testmarketed in a number of states.

Oregon campuses eliminating tobacco use this fall

This fall many Oregon colleges and universities will be implementing policies designed to eliminate secondhand smoke and the use of tobacco products on their campuses. See this article from

Smoke clears to show the ugly truth from

This article discusses how New Hampshire recently reduced its cigarette tax by 10 cents in order to encourage more cigarette sales as a way of increasing state revenues.  However, there may be no increase in the number of packs sold because the tobacco companies immediately raised their prices by 10 cents in order to capture some additional funds. It just goes to show that when legislators really cooperate with tobacco companies, it is the tobacco companies that come out as winners. 

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