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U.S. Surgeon General Leads Conversation at Indiana Tobacco Control Meeting
Start Date: 6/17/2014Start Time: 12:00 AM
End Date: 6/17/2014
Entry Description

INDIANAPOLIS—National, State and local leaders met today to discuss tobacco control and cessation efforts in Indiana and across the United States. Hosted by the Indiana State Department of Health’s Tobacco Prevention and Cessation division and State tobacco control partners, the “2014 Partner Information X-Change: Not Another 50 Years,” took place at the Marriott East in Indianapolis.

Special guest, Acting U.S. Surgeon General Boris D. Lushniak, M.D., M.P.H., discussed the 50th Anniversary of the Surgeon General’s Report. In 1964, the first federal government report linking smoking and poor health, including lung cancer and heart disease, was released, laying the foundation for tobacco control efforts in the U.S.

“Smokers today have a greater risk of developing lung cancer than they did when the first Surgeon General’s report was released in 1964, even though they smoke fewer cigarettes,” said Dr. Lushniak. “How cigarettes are made and the chemicals they contain have changed over the years, and some of those changes may be a factor in higher lung cancer risks. Of all forms of tobacco, cigarettes are the most deadly – and cause medical and financial burdens for millions of Americans.”

Released earlier this year, the 2014 Surgeon General’s Report, The Health Consequences of Smoking: 50 Years of Progress, gives updated estimates on the human and financial tolls of the cigarette smoking epidemic, finding that it kills close to half a million Americans a year and costs more than $289 billion each year in direct medical care and economic loss. In just the past 50 years, 20 million Americans have died because of smoking. 

“The Surgeon General’s report shows us the progress that public health has made over the years and highlights just how far we still need to go,” said State Health Commissioner William VanNess, M.D. “Tobacco use sadly remains the leading preventable cause of disease, disability and death in Indiana and in the U.S.”

According to the report, if current trends continue, 151,000 Indiana youth will become smokers and die prematurely. This is 9.5 percent of those age 17 and younger—almost one of every 10 Hoosier kids.

On a positive note, Dr. VanNess announced today that Indiana’s adult smoking rate has decreased to 21.9 percent. This is a statistically significant decrease from 25.6 percent in 2011. 

“Local and state tobacco control partners work diligently each and every day to address and combat this public health threat,” said Miranda Spitznagle, Director, Tobacco Prevention and Cessation at the Indiana State Department of Health.

Topics at breakout sessions for attendees included strategies on how to accelerate the decline of tobacco use among Indiana’s most vulnerable populations and how to confront emerging products, industry marketing strategies and their public health implications.

Steve Simpson, WIBC-FM in Indianapolis, moderated the closing session, where individuals shared stories of how tobacco has affected their lives. Ellie Nicholas, ad participant, from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Tips from Former Smokers campaign, spoke about the impact that secondhand smoke has had on her life.

“Today is a reminder that it is never too late to quit smoking,” said Dr. VanNess. “Quitting smoking is the single most important thing you can do to improve your health, your family’s health and the health of others around you.”

The Indiana Tobacco Quitline is a free service to help Hoosiers quit smoking. Call 1-800-QUIT-NOW to learn more or visit or

For more information about the 50th Anniversary of the Surgeon General’s Report, visit

For more information about the Indiana State Department of Health, visit For important health and safety tips, follow us on Twitter at @StateHealthIN and on Facebook at




Contact Information:
Name: Ken Severson
Phone: 317.233.7104
Entry Type:
Press Release
Entry Category:
  • Announcements
  • Category:
  • Family & Health
  • Agency Name
    Health, Indiana State Department of

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