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Public Radio's Environmental News Magazine (follow us on Google News)

The Living on Earth Almanac

Air Date: Week of

This week, tobacco.


CURWOOD: Thirty-two years ago this week, US Surgeon General Luther Terry issued the first government report saying smoking may be hazardous to your health. In the US there are now restrictions on where you could advertise, buy, or use cigars, cigarettes and pipes. Even so, Americans consume more than 480 billion cigarettes in 1994. That's down from the all-time high of 640 billion consumed in 1981, but young American women are increasing their use of tobacco. And last year saw a 1% jump in the number of cigarettes produced worldwide, up to 5 trillion, 340 billion. The cost of tobacco use can be measured in different ways. For example, according to the American Lung Association, second-hand smoke is responsible for more than 50,000 deaths each year. It's also responsible for more than 7,000 hospitalizations every year in children under 18 months. But a smokeless society would not come without costs, either. According to the Tobacco Institute, tobacco farming alone provides more than 150,000 jobs in the US.



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