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ADA Statement on Surgeon General’s Comprehensive Study on Smoking and Health

January 17, 2014

Contact Information:
Rob Raible: Telephone: 202.789.5166 Email:
Richard Green: Telephone: 202.789.5170 Email:

The American Dental Association congratulates Acting U.S. Surgeon General Boris Lushniak for issuing a report today that further examines the relationship between tobacco use and an array of health problems, including oral cancer, gum disease, and dental caries (tooth decay).

This week marks the 50th anniversary of the Surgeon General’s landmark report linking smoking with lung cancer and cardiovascular disease. Today’s 1000-page report greatly expands on that list to include diabetes, macular degeneration, liver disease, rheumatoid arthritis, among other conditions.

The ADA has long championed anti-tobacco programs because of the adverse effects smoking and chewing tobacco have on oral health. The Association has extensive policy on tobacco use, including the following:

"The [ADA] urges its members to become fully informed about tobacco cessation intervention techniques to effectively educate their patients to overcome their addiction to tobacco. This information should include education on the primary prevention of tobacco use."

The Surgeon General’s Report released today is wholly consistent with the strategic health objectives outlined in Healthy People 2020, which includes the goal of increasing "the proportion of adults who received information from a dentist or dental hygienist focusing on reducing tobacco use or on smoking cessation…"

The original Surgeon General’s report on smoking, released in 1964 led to a significant drop in the percentage of the public that smoked. In 1965, 43 percent of American adults smoked; that figure is around 18 percent today.


About the ADA

The not-for-profit ADA is the nation's largest dental association, representing 163,000 dentist members. The premier source of oral health information, the ADA has advocated for the public's health and promoted the art and science of dentistry since 1859. The ADA's state-of-the-art research facilities develop and test dental products and materials that have advanced the practice of dentistry and made the patient experience more positive. The ADA Seal of Acceptance long has been a valuable and respected guide to consumer dental care products. The monthly The Journal of the American Dental Association (JADA) is the ADA's flagship publication and the best-read scientific journal in dentistry. For more information about the ADA, visit For more information on oral health, including prevention, care and treatment of dental disease, visit the ADA's consumer website