K. Michael Cummings, PhD, MPH
The International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC) has endorsed a report that outlines key action items to be taken immediately to accelerate progress toward ending cigarette smoking in adults.1
Issuing its Executive Summary Report, the Core Team for Tobacco Control and Smoking Cessation states: “Tobacco control is losing priority in social, political, and health agendas, and public awareness of smoking as a continued public health threat has waned.… In spite of significant progress in tobacco control over the past half century, tobacco use is still the cause of nearly one in every four deaths daily in America.”2
Three Specific Actions
Gleaning the most important recommendations from 120 key tobacco control leaders across the United States, the report proposes three specific actions for immediate, accelerated implementation:
Action 1: Increase excise taxes at the federal level and in many states with four goals: lower smoking rates; harmonize taxes across state borders to reduce illicit trade; cover the costs of smoking-related disease; and encourage a shift from cigarettes to reduced-risk products and complete cessation.
Action 2: Encourage health and life insurers, employers, and health-care professionals to actively promote smoking cessation measures supported by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force and the 2014 U.S. Surgeon General’s Report.3
Action 3: Establish a more rational tobacco, nicotine, and alternative products regulatory framework based on their relative risks, which is adaptable to the increased speed of innovation in new technology development.
The IASLC strongly agrees with the report’s statement that, “Unlike 50 years ago, we now know the things we need to do to prevent addiction to tobacco and to help adults quit smoking. Thus, most of the tobacco-induced illnesses and deaths could be avoided, if we as a nation chose to make that happen.”
K. Michael Cummings, PhD, MPH, a global advocate for tobacco control programs and former Chair of the IASLC Tobacco Control and Smoking Cessation Committee, stated: “A stronger, concerted effort on adult smoking cessation—well documented as a highly cost-effective intervention—is needed to reach the short-term national goal of reducing the prevalence of cigarette smoking in adults to less than 10% in all communities nationwide by 2024. We continue to see substantial gains over the past 2 decades from many collaborative efforts to reduce youth smoking initiation. The same drive is now needed to reach the 40 million current adult smokers and ensure that accelerated declines in smoking occur.” ■
1. Ending cigarette use by adults in a generation is possible. Core Team on Tobacco Control. March 2017. Available at www.tobaccoreform.org. Accessed March 16, 2017.
2. Current cigarette smoking among U.S. adults aged 18 years and older. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Available at www.cdc.gov. Accessed March 16, 2017.
3. The Health Consequences of Smoking—50 Years of Progress: A Report of the Surgeon General, 2014. Surgeon General’s Reports. January 2014. Available at www.surgeongeneral.gov. Accessed March 16, 2017.