Where We Are Now: 50 Years After Surgeon General Warning

By: Amelia Nahmias Email
By: Amelia Nahmias Email

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AUGUSTA COUNTY, Va. (WHSV) -- In 1964, the U.S. surgeon general first reported the significant health risks related to smoking cigarettes.

There are more than 5,000 identified chemicals in cigarette smoke that are harmful and only a few were mentioned in 1964.

After 50 more years of research, more and more carcinogens are coming to the surface.

Tobacco cessation specialist Dana Breeding said smoking is an addiction.

Nicotine affects chemicals in the brain. They're feel good chemicals that are being reinforced time after time, which is why the habit so hard to break.

She shows smokers graphic displays of what smoking is doing to their body and still some can't kick the habit.

"For some people that is enough to start thinking about quitting or to just flat out quit. For many, it's, 'yes, I know I need to do this, I know it's bad for me, I'll get around to it at some point.' For some it might take an event happening of some sort, until they say, 'oh, I really need to do this,'" said Breeding.

The publicity caused by this event in 1964 has caused several public policies to change, like cigarette taxes, and smoke free environments.

These changes have helped curb the habit of smoking cigarettes.

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