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Ending the Tobacco Epidemic

Howard K. Koh, MD, MPH; Kathleen G. Sebelius, MPA
JAMA. 2012;308(8):767-768. doi:10.1001/jama.2012.9741.
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For too long, the goal of a society free from tobacco-related disease and disability has been elusive. While the prevalence of adult smoking has declined from 43% (1964) to about 19% (2010),1 too many in public health have taken future progress for granted and turned their attention elsewhere. Heightened, not diminished, attention to the leading preventable cause of death in the United States is needed. Tobacco dependence still causes more than 440 000 deaths annually.2 Furthermore, the marked slowing of declines in adult smoking prevalence over the past decade creates a renewed sense of urgency. It is time to reaffirm the commitment to ending the tobacco epidemic.

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Figure. Federal Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Initiatives: 2009 to Present
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