When (then) Surgeon General Dr. Luther Terry first issued health warnings about smoking in 1964, the main concern was lung cancer. Since then the list of smoking related diseases has expanded to include 13 different cancers such as colorectal and liver cancer, as well as breast cancer, as well as cleft palate birth defects, rheumatoid arthritis, Type 2 diabetes, erectile dysfunction, and macular degeneration (that can lead to blindness in seniors citizens).
In fact, the CDC reports that during the past two decades, 100,000 babies died of sudden infant death syndrome, or SIDS, or complications from premature deliveries, low birth weight or other conditions connected to parents' smoking.
The sad part is that much of this is preventable.
"Enough is enough," stated acting Surgeon General Boris Lushniak, “who noted, that while the number of smokers in this country has gone down from 42% in 1964 to 18% today, that still translates to 45 million people yet to kick the habit.
“The real emphasis needs to be put on the fact that we still have a major and tragic catastrophe going on," he said.
Among the measures he hopes will discourage useage of tobacco products is to keep raising the price for cigarettes, especially through taxes, as well as to expand smoking bans both indoors and outdoors. He also encourages more research into ways of decreasing the amount of addictive nicotine in cigarettes to make it easier for people to give up smoking once and for all.