It was 50 years ago this month that the Surgeon General made a game-changing announcement to a roomful of reporters that cigarette smoking causes lung cancer and possibly heart disease.
At the time, the Surgeon General office’s report on the health effects of smoking was considered so potentially damaging to the tobacco industry that it was released on a Saturday to minimize its’ effect on the stock market. Probably for good reason: In 1964, 42 percent of Americans were smokers.
Today, that number is 18 percent.
A recent report in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) says that the Surgeon General’s announcement was the catalyst that led to a profound transformation in the way Americans view smoking. Researchers postulate that the decline in smoking since the Surgeon General’s report has prevented 8 million tobacco-related deaths – more than half of them in people under age 65.
While there are still some 42 million smokers in the U.S., there are now more former smokers in the country than there are current smokers. Still, the death toll from tobacco use is staggering: it is estimated that 500,000 people die in the United States each year and 5 million die worldwide due to tobacco. And tobacco use in the developing world is increasing.
“Tobacco is quite simply, in a league of its own in terms of the sheer numbers and varieties of ways it kills and maims people,” the Director of the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention recently stated.
Sadly, despite the impressive gains made over the past fifty years, smoking is still the single largest cause of preventable death in the United States.
Despite concrete evidence that tobacco use sickens and kills people, Big Tobacco still does all it can to deceptively promote its’ dangerous products. If you have been sickened, or if you have lost a loved one due to tobacco use, the tobacco litigation attorneys at Farah & Farah in Jacksonville urge you to contact us to discuss your legal options.
We can be reached online or call us at (800) 533-3555 to set up a free, no-obligation consultation.