Smoking is one of the biggest public health problems currently facing the United States. Consider the following:
- Tobacco related illnesses cause over 400,000 deaths each year; this accounts for two-thirds of all preventable deaths in the United States (more information is available at the CDC). That total represents one out of every two smokers!
- Currently, over one million children and teens (between the ages of 12 and 17) become regular tobacco users each year, which accounts for over 85% of new smokers. Currently, more girls start smoking each year than boys, using toacco as a means of controlling their weight (more information is available at the Office of National Drug Control Policy).
- The majority of new tobacco users start between the ages of 12 and 17 before it is even legal to purchase the products. This is the result of marketing that targets the youngest and most vulnerable members of society.
- Teenagers who smoke cite the depiction of smoking in movies (52%) and advertising (34%) as the top two reasons that they decided to start smoking (Dalton et al, 2003). Peer pressure and parental influence were much less important.
- Smokers were not asked about their smoking during 85% of routine office visits with their primary care physicians; those same patients mistook this as approval of their smoking habit (“if the doctor isn’t worried about it, it must be okay”).
The Quit Doc Research and Education Foundation has been started by a group of physicians who believe that they can find a better approach to patients that are addicted to nicotine, and prevent another generation of young Americans from being sucked in by the false promises of the tobacco industry.
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