News / Health

AMA: Anti-Smoking Efforts Saved 8 Million Lives Since 1964

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U.S. medical researchers say anti-smoking measures have saved 8 million American lives since the landmark report on smoking and health 50 years ago.

The Journal of the American Medical Association reported Tuesday that controls on tobacco since 1964 have also boosted U.S. life expectancy for 40-year-olds.

But the AMA report says efforts must continue to cut the nation's death toll from cigarettes.

Former U.S. Surgeon General Luther Terry's 1964 report conclusively linking cigarettes to lung cancer stunned the nation at a time when more than 40 percent of American adults smoked. That number now stands at about 18 percent.

The report led to such anti-smoking measures as warning labels on cigarette packages and banning cigarette commercials on radio and television.

But cigarette smoking still kills about 443,000 Americans every year and is a major cause of lung cancer, stroke and heart disease.

The report points out that dozens of other countries do a better job of trying to curb tobacco use, with higher taxes, more graphic health warning labels on cigarettes and wider bans on tobacco advertising.

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