In January 2014, the Office of the Surgeon General released a report commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the first U.S. Surgeon General’s Report on tobacco. The report provides new and even more compelling data on the health consequences of tobacco use, highlighting a major public health crisis. Over ½ a million Americans will die by this time next year due to smoking. One out of every 13 children born today will die early due to smoking-related illness. These deaths are 100% preventable. So, what can we do as pharmacists – as health care providers?
RADM Scott Giberson, an Assistant Surgeon General that has also held the position of Acting U.S. Deputy Surgeon General, says: Pharmacists are in perfect position to accelerate tobacco control strategies. We must consider increasing activities such as easy-to-access cessation treatment programs and media campaigns. I ask you to think about the effects of tobacco use. I challenge every pharmacist to open discussion about this topic with their patients, communities and employers. The facts are incontrovertible – cigarette smoking is deadly. In order for us to reach our goals, we will need every sector of society, especially pharmacists, to lead these efforts. The beginning of the end of tobacco use starts with you. Together, we can make our next generation tobacco-free.