Smoking Report Anniversary

The report was a wake-up call like few others.

The surgeon general said that cigarette smoking contributes substantially to mortality and certain specific diseases, and to the overall death rate. The document finally provided the link between smoking and several diseases.

The report got teens involved immediately, through the National Conference on Smoking and Youth. It was at that conference that people realized they had to deglamorize smoking; to make it NOT be cool to smoke.

Since that report, things have changed. In 1964, 46% of all Americans smoked. Today, that number is down to 22.6%. Still, more than 90% of smokers start to smoke before their 18th birthday. And anti-tobacco movements want that to change.

Forty years after the historic report, the surgeon general's office says cigarette smoking remains the leading cause of preventable death and disability in the U.S. The Centers for Disease Control says more, and better, strategies are needed nationwide to prevent tobacco use.