On January 15, 2014 Senator Tom Harkin of Iowa asked for and was granted permission to address the United States Senate regarding the 50th Anniversary of the Surgeon General’s report in January 1964 which detailed that smoking was harmful to your health. Senator Harking then addressed the challenges we still face today because of the scourge of smoking.
“In the last 50 years, at least 17.6 million deaths in this country were attributable to smoking, and 440,000 lives are claimed by smoking each year. In fact, smoking cigarettes kills more Americans than alcohol, car accidents, suicide, AIDS, homicide, and illegal drugs combined. Furthermore, more than 3,000 kids in the United States try their first cigarette every day, 700 of whom will become daily smokers into adulthood. In total, this results in more than 250,000 new underage daily smokers in the U.S. annually. The numbers are clear: the battle against the harm caused by tobacco use is far from over, and we need to do more to protect vulnerable youth from becoming addicted to tobacco.”
“With these remaining challenges in front of us, it’s never been more important that we continue to make strides in tobacco prevention through innovative approaches, bold policies and programs, and a strengthened and sustained investment in public health. Today, in both the public and private sectors, we are continuing to make progress by expanding the number of smoke-free environments, supporting cutting-edge research on the effects of smoking, cracking down on unethical marketing practices, and using technology and social media to help people quit smoking. Tobacco prevention simply must remain a top public health priority”, said Senator Harkin (source: Congressional Record).