The American Nonsmokers’ Rights Foundation Comments on the 2020 Surgeon General’s Report on Smoking Cessation

Cynthia Hallett, President and CEO of the American Nonsmokers’ Rights Foundation and Policy Advisory Board member to the Thirdhand Smoke Resource Center, responds to the 2020 Surgeon General’s Report. In the report, the Surgeon General reaffirms that smokefree policies help people quit smoking. Fewer people smoking means more people living and working in environments free of toxic tobacco pollutants.

January 23, 2020

By: American Nonsmokers’ Rights Foundation

The U.S. Surgeon General has released a comprehensive report on smoking cessation that confirms smoking cessation improves health, saves lives, and reduces financial burdens, and likewise confirms that most adults who smoke want to quit smoking and that evidence-based treatments work at helping people quit.

The report states, “The evidence is sufficient to infer that smokefree policies reduce smoking prevalence, reduce cigarette consumption, and increase smoking cessation.” To best support the more than two-thirds of U.S. adult cigarette smokers who are interested in quitting, and the majority of current smokers who have tried quitting in the last year, smoke- and e-cigarette-free workplaces should be implemented.

In the three decades since the previous Surgeon General’s report on smoking cessation was released, a significant change is that new products have emerged – particularly e-cigarettes and other vaping products – that have surged in popularity, in part due to manufacturers’ claims that these products help smokers quit cigarettes.  Meanwhile, we have continued to focus our efforts on evidence-based policy solutions to protect against secondhand smoke and e-cigarette aerosol through smokefree policy change and investing in life-saving tobacco prevention and education programs.

Two of the report’s key findings support evidence-based policies to protect everyone’s right to breathe smokefree air:

-E-cigarettes, a continually changing and heterogeneous group of products, are used in a variety of ways. Consequently, it is difficult to make generalizations about efficacy for cessation based on clinical trials involving a particular e-cigarette, and there is presently inadequate evidence to conclude that e-cigarettes, in general, increase smoking cessation.

-Smoking cessation can be increased by raising the price of cigarettes, adopting comprehensive smokefree policies, implementing mass media campaigns, requiring pictorial health warnings, and maintaining comprehensive statewide tobacco control programs.

“While the U.S. adult smoking rate is at an all-time low of 14.1% and the majority of our population is protected from secondhand smoke at work, we still have work to do,” remarked Cynthia Hallett, ANR Foundation’s President and CEO. “Disparities persist among those who are exposed to secondhand smoke and among those who receive adequate cessation services. Evidence-based policy solutions are the best guarantee that everyone has the right to a smokefree life.”

Note: Content was edited for style and length.

Click here To read the Executive Summary of the Surgeon General’s Report.

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