50 Years of Smoking Warnings
On Friday, Acting Surgeon General, Boris Lushniak, released the 32nd report. Data in the document points to nearly 21-million premature deaths caused by smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke since that first report. The causes include cancers, heart disease, pregnancy-related issues and residential fires. Even in the face of such staggering numbers, Mary Gillett, tobacco prevention coordinator for Guilford Co. Dept. of Health. says there have been dramatic changes since 1964.
"People, both youth and adults, are very much more aware of the dangers of tobacco," she says, "although I find that most people are not completely aware of all of the dangers. There's a host of cancers, not only lung cancers, associated with smoking, heart and cardiovascular disease, and sudden infant death syndrome, so I think the awareness is broadening. The second thing is there are half the number of adult and youth smokers than there used to be, but there's still a tremendous amount of work to do."
Gillette says the rate of youth smoking is holding steady, although its at the lowest rate ever in North Carolina. The tobacco prevention program in Guilford Co. is funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and has been going for more than 20 years.
One of the smoking cessation programs is Quitline , which Gillette says is available 24/7 in both English and Spanish. "You can sign up for a forward call program, and when you do that, it's really going to more than double your chance of quitting," she says.