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Video and Podcast Series: Reflecting on 50 Years of Progress

The landmark report released by the ninth Surgeon General, Dr. Luther Terry, laid the foundation for tobacco control efforts in the U.S. Through the efforts of tobacco control professionals, advocates, and researchers the work has continued to move forward. Learn about the progress of tobacco control in the 50th Anniversary on Smoking and Health video and podcast series, featuring interviews from key leaders in the fight against tobacco. This series celebrates the progress made—and the work still to be done—to end tobacco-related disease and death


For more than 50 years, the Surgeon General has reported the dangers of smoking and tobacco use. The findings have inspired us to help smokers quit and keep young people from starting to smoke. We know the strategies that work. Together we can end the tobacco epidemic and save millions of lives.

Worse Than We Thought

The 1964, the Surgeon General’s Report on Smoking and Health found that smoking causes lung cancer. Today, we know the impact of smoking on health and well-being is far worse.

Robbing the Future

Cigarette companies have a long history of marketing to youth. If we don’t do more to prevent youth from starting to smoke, one out of every 13 children alive today in this country will die early from smoking.

Unequal Opportunity Killer

Cigarette smoking has devastating effects on health and it is an unequal opportunity killer for people with lower incomes and less education, and certain racial and ethnic minorities. This video spotlights this health disparity, how it developed, and how tobacco companies have contributed.

When Smoking Affects Your Family, It’s Personal

Virtually everybody we know has a friend or relative who has died from smoking or has had his or her family’s lives unalterably changed as a result of tobacco use. Many advocates in the tobacco control community are motivated by their own personal experiences with health consequences or loss of loved one due to tobacco.

Among those who has had a friend or relative who died from smoking, or seen her family’s lives unalterably changed as a result of tobacco, is Ann Staples from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. Learn how her mother’s smoking impacted her family, her health, and her career.

During her tenure as Surgeon General of the United States, Dr. Regina Benjamin released two Surgeon General’s Reports on smoking and health. For her, the impact of smoking has always been much more than clinical – it’s personal. Dr. Benjamin shares how smoking has impacted her family.

 Surgeon General's Reports -- Why They Matter 

This video highlights key findings from the previous 31 Surgeon General reports that advanced the tobacco control movement, and sheds light on important health issues such as disparities, causal links to various diseases, exposure to secondhand smoke, and indoor smoking, among others.

Smoking within the LGBT Community 

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans smoke at much higher rates than average, so they suffer more smoking-related death and illness. Dr. Scout, director of the Network for LGBT Health Equity at CenterLink, talks in this video about what smoking does to LGBT health, including the tobacco industry's long history in marketing to the LGBT community.

The Way Things Were

This video examines changes in social norms and its impact on smoking prevalence.

Changing Social Norms to Reduce the Acceptability of Smoking

This video features Madeleine Solomon, Tobacco Technical Assistance Consortium, Emory University, discussing major changes in social acceptability of tobacco use.

Public Service Announcement - 5.6 Million Children

This public service announcement points out that 5.6 million children alive today will ultimately die early from smoking if we do not do more to reduce current smoking rates.

Tips Campaign Changed Their Lives

Tips From Former Smokers campaign ad participants, Terrie Hall, Brandon Carmichael and Roosevelt Smith, discussing their experiences during and after the campaign.


The Minnesota Lawsuit: The Gift that Keeps on Giving

Doug Blanke, director of the Tobacco Control Legal Consortium

Doug Blanke is director of the Tobacco Control Legal Consortium, and works to reduce tobacco use nationwide. He was part of a lawsuit that forced the tobacco industry to turn over millions of pages of documents showing how they targeted children in their marketing, hid data on the dangers of smoking, and misled the American public about their products.

speaker icon The Minnesota Lawsuit: The Gift that Keeps on Giving   Transcript  

Confronting Commercial Tobacco Use among Native American Tribes

Dr. Patricia Nez Henderson, Vice President,Black Hills Center for American Indian Health in South Dakota

American Indians have the largest prevalence of smoking among population groups.  In this podcast, Dr. Patricia Nez Henderson, Vice President, Black Hills Center for American Indian Health, discusses the importance of educating tribal people that cigarettes are not traditional.  She and other tribal support centers are working to end commercial tobacco use among American Indians. 

speaker iconConfronting Commercial Tobacco Use among Native American Tribes  Transcript  

Clearing the Air

Cynthia Hallett, Executive Director, Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights

In this podcast, Cynthia Hallett, Executive Director of  Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights, talks about her sense of urgency to clear the air of secondhand smoke so everyone is equally protected from the negative health effects caused by smoking in the workplace.

speaker iconClearing the Air  Transcript  

Get Involved

Leading up to the 50th Anniversary of the Surgeon General’s Report on Smoking and Health, the Office of the Surgeon General is sharing highlights from the last 50 years of tobacco control efforts. You can be a part of the effort to share information on the dangers of tobacco use.  Find resources to help promote the anniversary.