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The Keys to Quitting: Surgeon General Study Targets Massive Reduction in U.S. SmokersAired August 9, 2000 - 1:22 p.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LOU WATERS, CNN ANCHOR: A warning from the family doctor is enough to encourage some people to stop smoking, but the most important tactic may be to stop people from ever picking up the habit.
CNN's Jonathan Aiken has more on a new report from the surgeon general.
JONATHAN AIKEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Citing numbers showing up to 3,000 teenagers a day joining the ranks of tobacco users, the surgeon general's study focuses on getting people to cut back or kick the habit.
DR. DAVID SATCHER, SURGEON GENERAL: We know how to decrease the number of people who smoke in this country to one half what it is today over the next 10 years.
AIKEN: Satcher's report says there are as many as 450,000 tobacco-related deaths each year in the United States. To reduce that figure, the study targets a series of approaches, topped by stronger efforts to educate children on the risks of smoking.
Combined with media campaigns, the report says education can postpone or prevent smoking in between 20 to 40 percent of adolescents. It cites the success of medical treatments targeting nicotine addiction that can reach another 25 percent of tobacco users, and it says even something as simple as a doctor's warning can prompt as many as 10 percent of smokers to quit.
The report says tobacco regulation is lax in the U.S. compared with other developed countries. It calls for tobacco sales to be regulated, perhaps even licensed, and taxes on tobacco products be increased to make them less affordable to young people.
Satcher says 80 percent of smokers started before they were 18, which is why he's intent on catching children before they start.
SATCHER: It is a pediatric disease, and that's what we're talking about, how to prevent this pediatric disease, or how to prevent our children from becoming addicted to smoking before they're old enough to legally purchase tobacco. AIKEN: Philip Morris, which makes half the cigarettes sold in the United States, issued a statement saying: "We're committed to helping reducing the incidents of youth smoking, helping to create marketplace options to help minimize second-hand smoke, and we think the public should have information about the health risks associated with our products. Those are all areas in which we are working.
(on camera): Satcher says a concerted effort to cut tobacco use now could have a tremendous impact on the lives of young people in the United States; an impact greater, he says, than the development of the Polio vaccine.
Jonathan Aiken, for CNN, Washington.
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