Because cigarette smoke causes immediate damage to the lungs and DNA, President Barack Obama’s administration has decided to make smoking-cessation efforts a priority.
Smoking hurts not only the smokers, but people around them, and taxes, bans and treatment all must be used together to help get smoking rates down, Surgeon-General Dr. Regina Benjamin said in a report on smoking.
According to Dr. Benjamin, “the chemicals in tobacco smoke reach your lungs quickly every time you inhale which causes damage immediately. Inhaling even the smallest amount of tobacco smoke can also damage your DNA, which can lead to cancer.”
Tobacco companies have deliberately designed cigarettes and other tobacco products to be addictive, and they have recently released new tobacco products that are allegedly safer but are in fact just as dangerous and addictive.
According to Kathleen Sebelius, Health and Human Services Secretary, efforts have been stepped up to reduce tobacco use, including implementing legislation to regulate tobacco products, investing in local tobacco control efforts and expanding access to insurance coverage for tobacco cessation.
Studies have shown cigarettes kill 443,000 people every year in the United States. More than 1,000 people are killed every day by cigarettes and one half of all long-term smokers are killed by smoking-related diseases.
Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Dr. Margaret Hamburg, Food and Drug Administration commissioner, have said that the largest impacts come when we increase tobacco prices, ban smoking in public places, offer affordable and accessible cessation treatments and combine media campaigns and other initiatives.
The CDC estimates that around 23 percent of adults smoke and 17 percent of high school students do.
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