Surgeon General’s Rpt Tobacco Smoke Pt 1: Mechanisms, Changing Cigarette, Chemistry & Toxicology of Tobacco Smoke, & Nicotine Add.

US Department of Health and Human Services

 ABSTRACT

In 1964, the US Surgeon General released the office's first report on the dangers of smoking, a landmark in the history of public-health policy. Since then, extensive data from thousands of studies have demonstrated the devastating health and economic effects of tobacco use on the lives of millions of Americans. The evidence is damning: More than 1000 people are killed every day by cigarettes, and one-half of all long-term smokers die from smoking-related diseases. Even more, for every person whose death is a consequence of tobacco use, another 20 Americans continue to suffer with at least one serious tobacco-related illness. Moreover, thousands of nonsmokers die every year from heart disease and lung cancer, and hundreds of thousands of children suffer from respiratory infections because of exposure to secondhand smoke. The evidence is clear: there is no risk-free level of exposure to tobacco smoke, and there is no safe tobacco product.

This most recent Surgeon General's Report, the 29th since 1964, characterizes the biological and behavioral mechanisms of smoking-related diseases, how exposure to mainstream and second-hand smoke damages the body. Part 1 explores these mechanisms, as well as the myriad efforts to modify the design and structure of cigarettes and tobacco products. It reviews the toxicology of tobacco smoke, the chemistry and biomarkers of exposure and harm, and the components, pathophysiology, and genetics of nicotine addiction. The epidemiology of tobacco use and trajectory toward nicotine dependence also is examined. In so doing, the findings help guide the development of new strategies to prevent addiction, treat smoking-related diseases, and reduce the economic havoc wrought by this insidious and long-standing public-health calamity.

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