News of the $25 billion being paid for cigarette maker Lorillard reminds us that, for all the progress of the past half century, smoking is still alive and well in America, even if an additional 480,000 of us each year — who continue to die from it — are not.
Here’s the latest: “How the Tobacco Industry Has Made Cigarettes More Addictive, More Attractive to Kids and Even More Deadly.” Yankee ingenuity at its worst.
In small part:
The adult smoking rate has been cut by more than half – from 42.4 percent in 1965 to 18.1 percent in 2012. After climbing to 36.4 percent in 1997, the high school smoking rate has been cut by 57 percent, to 15.7 percent in 2013.
. . . [Yet] the new Surgeon General’s report released in January 2014, The Health Consequences of Smoking – 50 Years of Progress, found that cigarette smoking . . . currently kills 480,000 Americans each year, sickens millions more and costs the nation at least $289 billion annually in health care bills and economic losses.
Specifically, the report found that “today’s cigarette smokers . . . have a much higher risk for lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) than smokers in 1964, despite smoking fewer cigarettes.” The report finds that “changes in the design and composition of cigarettes since the 1950s” are responsible for smokers’ increased risk of developing lung cancer.
Kids: Don’t become slaves to the tobacco industry like your parents. Think of the money you’ll save!
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