Winning the War on Tobacco (Article)


 New information from the CDC confirms the fact that lung cancer rates are coming down. (1) This is great news since saving every child from suffering and dying from smoking related diseases should be a very high priority for every parent, every teacher, really for citizen.  According to the new information gathered by the CDC, the battle to keep children from smoking is a winnable one!  We have a good start toward victory already. The weapons that seem to be working are raising the price with increased excise taxes, banning advertising and especially appealing marketing that children find appealing, banning smoking in public places, making programs readily available to quit smoking, enforcing age restrictions on the purchase of cigarettes in stores and vending machines, and mass media campaigns to convince smokers to quit.   Not surprisingly, efforts to restrict smoking that are directed toward children are more effective than efforts directed at adults. In addition to not using tobacco yourself, the best way to prevent your child from using tobacco is supporting public policy that makes tobacco more expensive to buy, less attractive to use, and more inconvenient to use. For instance, the excise tax per pack of cigarettes is about 10 times higher in the State of New York than that found our state of North Carolina. Not surprisingly, the proportion of population that smokes in North Carolina is 6 percent higher than that found in New York State. Coincidence?  I suspect probably not.  States that have invested the most into their anti-smoking campaign have reaped the highest declines in smoking rates.   In the United States, we have made tremendous progress toward making smoking much less common than a generation ago.  Rather than banning the use of tobacco, our current path of convincing our young people to never start smoking seems to me to be the most rational approach to winning the war on the “War on tobacco”.  Passing on a nearly smoke free society to our children would be a wonderful gift to our children.  Think about it. Your comments are welcome at  Until next time. Written collaboratively by John Eun and Paul Smolen M.D.