A report in the Journal of the American Medical Association that was released today has noted the significant decrease in the prevalence of heavy smokers (20 or more cigarettes a day) in the United States. Also noted was the substantial decrease in California compared to the rest of the country. As pointed out by the report's authors, one of the reasons for the greater decline in California is comprehensive tobacco control programs.
Smoking rates in Alabama remain some of the highest in the country. We have a tremendous opportunity to save lives in Alabama (there have been substantial declines in lung cancer deaths in California) by adopting a statewide clean indoor air bill and increasing state taxes on cigarettes and other tobacco products.
It is amazing that a decade into the 21st century, Alabama continues to allow its citizens to die from an addictive product, when both clean indoor air and tax increases have been shown to substantially reduce consumption. Now is the time to get such legislation passed.
I encourage you to contact your legislator and urge them to act on this problem. And if you or someone you know needs help to quit smoking, please visit http://www.alabamaquitnow.com/.
-Ed Partridge, M.D.