The consumption of tobacco products and exposure to tobacco smoke lead the world’s list of preventable causes of death, responsible for about 5 million deaths a year. It is estimated that this number will grow to 10 million by 2030. Smoking causes approximately 90% of lung cancer and contributes to 30% of all cancers.1 It is the major cause of chronic obstructive lung disease and one of the major risk factors for vascular disease, including ischemic heart disease. Programs to prevent initiation of smoking have an important long-term positive impact on tobacco-related illnesses, and individual efforts to stop smoking can mitigate many of the negative health effects of tobacco use within just a few years.
The Society believes that cardiothoracic surgeons are in a position to provide the impetus for smoking prevention programs and for tobacco use cessation in their patients and communities, both locally and globally. To achieve the shared goal of eliminating morbidity and mortality from smoking-related activities, The Society of Thoracic Surgeons supports the following efforts:
1. Ratification of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (http:/www.who.int/tobacco/framework/en/) and implementation of its articles, as important steps toward addressing tobacco-related disease in the United States and worldwide;
2. Legislation and regulations that prohibit smoking in public places and places of work, as important tools to decrease exposure to tobacco smoke and encourage smoking cessation;
3. Education, as a valuable and essential weapon in the effort to eliminate tobacco-related death and disease, including early tobacco warning programs within the school systems, more graphic and visible warnings on tobacco packaging, and the prohibition in advertising or marketing of misleading terms such as “light” and “low tar;”
4. Elimination of incentives and subsidies that support the production of tobacco-related products; and
5. Referral of patients to smoking cessation programs by Society members, who also should avail themselves of such programs if necessary.
Consistent with the foregoing, the Society will provide smoking cessation materials at all STS Annual Meetings and on the Society’s Web site.
Adopted: January 14, 2009 (STS Executive Committee)
1 US Department of Health and Human Services. Women and Smoking: Report of the Surgeon General. Rockville: US Department of Health Human Services, Public Health Service, Office of the Surgeon General, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health; 2001. p. 13. and Vineis P, Alavanja M, Buffler P, Fontham E, et al. “Tobacco and cancer: recent epidemiological evidence,” JNCI 2004; 96(2): 86-7.