Surgeon General's Report

The Surgeon General's report, The Health Consequences of Smoking: 50 Years of Progress, calls the epidemic of cigarette smoking over the last century an enormous and avoidable public health tragedy.

In Alabama, smoking kills more than 7,500 adults over age 35 each year, and costs the state nearly $5.6 billion in medical care costs and productivity losses, according to the report. These numbers are alarming," said State Health Officer Dr. Donald Williamson. "But the effects of tobacco use are entirely preventable. If we can pass smokefree protections for everyone, increase the price of tobacco, and fully fund tobacco prevention programs, more people will quit and more children will never start. We need to reduce tobacco consumption in pregnancy, a factor associated with higher infant mortality."

The report highlights 50 years of progress in tobacco control and prevention, presents new data on the health consequences of smoking, and discusses opportunities that can potentially end the smoking epidemic in the United States.

Executive Summary
Consumer Guide

Scientific Evidence

  • Despite significant progress since the first Surgeon General's report, issued 50 years ago, smoking remains the single largest cause of preventable disease and death in the United States.
  • The scientific evidence is incontrovertible: inhaling tobacco smoke, particularly from cigarettes, is deadly. Since the first Surgeon General's Report in 1964, evidence has linked smoking to diseases of nearly all organs of the body.
  • Smokers today have a greater risk of developing lung cancer than did smokers in 1964.
  • For the first time, women are as likely to die as men from many diseases caused by smoking.
  • Proven tobacco control strategies and programs, in combination with enhanced strategies to rapidly eliminate the use of cigarettes and other combustible, or burned, tobacco products, will help us achieve a society free of tobacco-related death and disease.

For more information, visit Surgeon General online.

Studies shows about 70 percent of all smokers want to quit. In Alabama, smokers can get free help by calling 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669) or visiting Quit Now Alabama.

Page last updated: March 23, 2018