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June 17, 2014

U.S. Surgeon General says ‘enough is enough’

Federal official discusses 50 years of fighting tobacco use

INDIANAPOLIS — Acting U.S. Surgeon General RADM Boris D. Lushniak, M.D., M.P.H., made a stop in Indianapolis to speak at the Indiana Tobacco Control Partner Information X-Change. He took the opportunity to encourage local public health workers in the fight against tobacco use.

The Indiana State Department of Health hosted the gathering of partners and stakeholders from across the state to foster discussions on smoking cessation and tobacco control efforts. Lushniak was the keynote speaker for the day-long conference.

He has reinstituted the mantra “Enough is Enough” when it comes to tobacco use in the United States. The phrase was made popular when the office first came out 50 years ago and identified tobacco use as a health risk.

It was Luther Terry, the country’s ninth Surgeon General, that issued the warning against tobacco by saying, “Cigarette smoking is a health hazard of sufficient importance in the United States to warrant appropriate remedial action.”

“We have had successes in social norms,” Lushniak said. “Fifty years ago there would be ashtrays on your tables and half of the people would be smoking. The other half would not say anything.”

The Health Consequences of Smoking – 50 Years of Progress: A Report of the Surgeon General was published earlier this year. It took five years to write and included 85 authors and 120 reviewers. The total report is 983 pages.

“The report is a look backward at what we’ve accomplished,” Lushniak said. “It is also a call to action. Enough is enough. We must introduce passion and anger into the battle. And, yes, this is a battle. We are in a fight against tobacco.”

He said that smoking related deaths is the number one preventable cause of death across the country, as well as in Indiana.

Eighteen percent of the U.S. adult population uses tobacco products. It was announced at the conference that 21 percent of Hoosier adults use tobacco products, which is down from 25 percent in 2011.

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