Surgeon General's Warning 24 Years Ago Loses Clout Today
On May 17th, 1988 the Surgeon General of the United States warned that nicotine was just as addictive as heroin and cocaine and recommended the licensing of those who sell tobacco products and tougher laws prohibiting their sale to minors.
The warning came in the Surgeon General's annual report on the health consequences of smoking. The Surgeon General, Dr. C. Everett Koop said he hoped the new focus on the addictive nature of tobacco would encourage new antismoking efforts by Federal, state and local officials.
The Surgeon 618-page report's discussion of addiction did not break new scientific ground back then, but rather synthesized the work of more than 50 scientists and the review of more than 2,000 scientific articles, officials said. Its conclusions reflected the growing belief among experts that the use of tobacco should be viewed as a serious form of addiction, rather than simply a dangerous habit.
However these days, the warning seems to have lost its clout. Radiation Oncologist Majid Mohiuddin with Memorial Hermann’s Cancer Center says. “For a number of years there was a decrease in smoking, but now we are seeing a lapse again where teenagers are starting to smoke even more."
Dr. Mohiuddin believes if the graphic warning labels about smoking are allowed on cigarette packs, it would significantly help people quit.