According to the National Cancer Institute, tobacco use remains the nation's leading preventable cause of premature death. Each year, more than 440,000 Americans die from diseases caused by tobacco use. It was with these statistics in mind that the National Institutes of Health held a State of the Science Conference to discuss tobacco use prevention and treatments. Currently, there are 44.5 million adult smokers in the U.S. Of that number, 70 percent want to quit and 40 percent make an attempt to quit each year. However, fewer than five percent succeed in any given year according to Dr. David Ransohoff, chair of the conference panel.
Tobacco use remains a very serious public health problem. Coordinated national strategies for tobacco prevention, cessation, and control are essential; an important conduct through strategies coordination efforts at multiple levels. These are essential if the United States is to achieve Healthy People 2010 goals. Most adults smokers want to quit and effective interventions exist, however only a small proportion of tobacco users receive intervention. This gap represents a major national quality of care problem. Many cities and states have implemented effective policies to reduce tobacco use; these models should be evaluated for wide spread adoption. Because smokeless tobacco use may increase in the United States, it will be increasing important to understand net population harms. The last two are prevention especially among youth in cessation among smokers continue to be essential strategies to reduce tobacco use. And last, tobacco use is a critical and chronic problem that requires continuous and comprehensive attention from providers, health care organizations and research support organizations.
Cigarette smoking alone is responsible for more than 30 percent of cancer deaths each year in the United States, and smoking also leads to death from heart disease, stroke and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. The panel also concluded that smokeless tobacco products were of great concern for 3 reasons — the numerous health risks, the limited data about the effect smokeless tobacco on public health, and the fact that new products and aggressive marketing may increase use of smokeless tobacco in the U.S. For information on the findings and future research, visit www.consensus.nih.gov.