40 Years After the Surgeon General Report

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40 Years After the Surgeon General Report

Saskatoon - January 11, 2004 marks the 40th anniversary of the release of a health document that shocked the world.  The 1964 U.S. Surgeon General's Report on Smoking and Health was the first widely publicized official recognition that cigarette smoke is a cause of cancer and the most important cause of chronic bronchitis.

The impact was so worrisome that the report was released in a high security environment and on a Saturday, to avoid stock market complications.

"Although there have been great strides made in smoking cessation, there's still more work to be done," said former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop at the launch of an American Lung Association campaign to commemorate the 40th anniversary of Dr. Luther Terry's landmark report.

I don't think anyone anticipated the advances in public health and the desire for clean, safe air in our places of work and recreation that followed in the 40 years after the release of this work, said Paul Van Loon, a health educator with The Lung Association of Saskatchewan.  We invite tobacco users to celebrate this anniversary by making a commitment to take a positive stride forward along the quitting path.

Smoking rates in Canada have dropped by half in this period of time.  In 1964 about one-half of the adult population were smokers.  Today, three out of four adults do not use tobacco products.

Since 1964 over 20 further Surgeon General's Reports have been issued.  These are joined by innumerable documents written by medical societies, governments, governmental agencies, plus the World Health Organization and the World Bank.  All speak to the vast array of medical problems caused or worsened by tobacco use.

Health Canada predicts that smoking will account for half of all deaths among today's tobacco using young people, said Lung Association CEO, Dr. Brian Graham.  But many health problems and needless deaths can be avoided by breaking the addiction to tobacco products.

In light of the more recent evidence about the dangers of second hand smoke, The Lung Association of Saskatchewan asks all provincial politicians to work together on this issue to protect the health of all patrons and workers by providing smoke free public venues and worksites by the end of the year.  A healthy, smoke-free environment will reduce illness and absenteeism from work and will also help smokers to quit,  adds Dr. Graham.

The Lung Association is Canada's oldest health charity, helping Canadians to breathe easier since 1900.  We are a non-profit, non-governmental organization that relies on the generous support of the public through donations to campaigns such as Christmas Seals to fund our many programs and activities.  You will find the Lung Association active in your community conducting programs on asthma, COPD and sleep apnea, providing training for health professionals, delivering health education in schools, facilitating patient support groups, and lobbying for clean air.  The Lung Association is the premier source for respiratory health initiatives in the province.

For more information contact:

Paul Van Loon, Health Educator
Saskatoon residents: 343-9511
Outside Saskatoon: 1-888-566-LUNG (5864)

When you can't breathe, nothing else matters.ТÐ

www.sk.lung.ca

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Page Last Updated: 11/01/2004