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Report: Smoking More Dangerous Than First Thought

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This month marks the 50th anniversary of the first Surgeon General's report on smoking and health. Since then, health districts across the country, including Northern Nevada, have continually worked to prevent tobacco use.

Health officials say different campaigns, policy changes and increased taxes on tobacco have brought down the number of smokers nationally over the years, but the new report now shows smoking is even more dangerous than officials first thought.

"Far too many people lose their lives that it impacts people who don't even smoke. Second-hand smoke, now, we know about third-hand smoke," says Steve Kutz.

For those of you who don't know. I learned third-hand smoke is when you can smell the smoke off someone even after the cigarette's put out.

The ninth surgeon general released the first report on the health consequences of smoking back on January 11, 1964. About 18% of Americans smoke currently, down dramatically from 42% in 1964.

Meanwhile, officials say about 20% of adults smoke in Washoe County currently.

But the latest report shows lung cancer and heart disease risks are just the beginning of health problems associated with smoking. It now links smoking to many more cancers and diseases like diabetes, liver and colon cancer. Macular degeneration and certain birth defects are also on the list.

Washoe Health officials says they're working on getting policies enacted like tobacco-free housing and campuses. "There's a goal within the next 10 years to decrease the smoking rate to 10% and we will work with both locally, statewide and nationally to help achieve that goal."

For more on what the health district is doing to prevent people from using tobacco, and to read the Surgeon General's full report, click here.

Written by Adam Varahachaikol

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