The Surgeon General, whose office in 1964 first announced the adverse health effects associated with smoking, has just issued a new report, “Preventing Tobacco Use Among Youth and Young Adults.” The findings are unequivocal and frightening: Smoking remains the number one cause of preventable disease and death in this country. And it all starts, overwhelmingly, in the teen years. Here is a link to the full report. http://www.surgeongeneral.gov/library/preventing-youth-tobacco-use/index.html.
The report, easily the size of three volumes of the now defunct Encyclopedia Britannica, is exhaustively detailed in its analysis. Among its key findings:
• Smoking is an epidemic among young people. Nearly one in four high school seniors is a smoker.
• Every single day, nearly 4,000 young people (under age 18) smoke their first cigarette. Of those, about 1,000 become daily smokers. For every three young smokers, only one will quit (eventually) and one will die from a smoking-related disease.
• Scientific evidence linking cigarette smoking and adverse health effects is stronger than ever. Smoking restricts lung growth in young people. It causes heart disease and lung cancer. An estimated 443,000 Americans die each year from smoking-related causes, adding about $100 billion to our national health care tab.