Statement of the National Alliance for Hispanic Health on Announcement by Secretary Sebelius of National Tobacco Strategy and Cigarette Pack Warnings

Nov 10, 2010, 18:30 ET from National Alliance for Hispanic Health

WASHINGTON, Nov. 10, 2010 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- "Our national strategy to end tobacco addiction has stalled, putting the nation's health and economic well-being at risk," said Dr. Jane L. Delgado, President and CEO of the National Alliance for Hispanic Health, the nation's leading Hispanic health advocacy group, and author of The Latina Guide to Health.  "Today's announcement will help tell the truth about tobacco with stronger and more graphic warnings on cigarette packs and in advertising. It will be the most significant change to health warnings in decades," continued Dr. Delgado.

According to the report, Ending the Tobacco Epidemic, issued today by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, while smoking among U.S. adults is down significantly from a decade ago, the decline in the adult smoking rate has now stalled, with virtually no change in prevalence since 2004. The current smoking rate of 1 in every 5 adults far exceeds the national goal set for 2010 by Healthy People, which aimed to reduce adult prevalence to less than 12%.

Among the findings of the new tobacco strategy, cigarette smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke kill an estimated 443,000 people in the United States each year. For every smoker who dies from a smoking-attributable disease, another 20 live with a serious smoking-related disease.

"The job of ending the tobacco epidemic cannot fall to a warning label alone. While smoking costs the United States $96 billion in medical costs and $97 billion in lost productivity each year, current funding for smoking prevention and cessation has been cut by states to the lowest level since 1999. Defunding tobacco prevention and cessation is short sighted and puts the health of adults and youth at risk," said Dr. Delgado.

Dr. Delgado, concluded, "We can no longer give tobacco companies free access to our youth to recruit them to be the next generation of profit generating addicts to their deadly products. For the economic, physical, and mental health of the nation, we must end tobacco addiction and today's strategy and announcement of new warnings puts us more squarely on that path."

The National Alliance for Hispanic Health is the nation's foremost science-based source of information and trusted advocate for the health of Hispanics in the United States. For info, visit

SOURCE National Alliance for Hispanic Health