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Student health for college students: Surgeon general’s report hits 50

While less people smoke now than in 1964, more work still needs to be done to reduce tobacco use.

While less people smoke now than in 1964, more work still needs to be done to reduce tobacco use.

This week marked the 50th anniversary of the U.S. Surgeon General’s landmark report announcing that smoking cigarettes causes serious diseases. Recent Surgeon General Regina Benjamin hosted a summit of former Surgeons General at Xavier University in New Orleans to discuss the leading cause of preventable death—smoking—and ways to keep young people from getting addicted. The topic is urgent as an overwhelming majority of smokers begin before the age of 25. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention Director Thomas Frieden wrote in Journal of the American Medical Association article “Tobacco control progress and potential”: “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.”

50 years ago

Believe it or not, there was actually a time when physicians recommended that people take up smoking to calm their nerves. Read more