The report of the Surgeon General: preventing tobacco use among young people

Am J Public Health. 1994 Apr;84(4):543-7. doi: 10.2105/ajph.84.4.543.


This year's surgeon general's report on smoking and health is the first such report to focus on young people. From extensive data that indicate that tobacco use is a pediatric epidemic, the report reached six major conclusions: (1) Nearly all first use of tobacco occurs by age 18. (2) Most adolescent smokers are addicted to nicotine. (3) Tobacco is often the first drug used by young people who subsequently use illegal drugs. (4) There are identified psychosocial risk factors for the onset of tobacco use. (5) Cigarette advertising also appears to increase young people's risk of smoking. (6) Communitywide efforts have successfully reduced adolescent use of tobacco. This commentary restates each of the six conclusions, summarizes the data that support each, and then considers the implications of the conclusions for public health action.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Advertising
  • Female
  • Health Education
  • Humans
  • Self Concept
  • Smoking / psychology
  • Smoking Prevention
  • Social Perception
  • Substance-Related Disorders / prevention & control
  • Tobacco Use Disorder / prevention & control*
  • United States