From Our Chief Medical Officer

Public health in America changed dramatically in January 1964, when the U.S. Surgeon General released the nation's first comprehensive tobacco report, Smoking and Health, indicating a link between smoking and lung cancer.  The American Lung Association's work in tobacco actually began a year earlier, and today, America's smoking rate has been cut in half, thanks to our efforts and those of our partner agencies. We have learned much and changed the course of our nation's health through research-based efforts to prevent smoking, treat smoking-related illness, help people quit smoking and overcome deadly nicotine addiction.

Many challenges still remain as Americans continue to battle lifelong addiction to tobacco.  Tobacco companies cunningly draw in new young smokers daily, and the American Lung Association works vigilantly to bring the federal government and states up to date with policies that must change to protect public health and individual lives.

In this issue of Promise Of Research, we follow the continuum of research linked to policy and education changes and challenges in tobacco control, including our annual State of Tobacco Control report. We introduce you to an Army wife whose renewed commitment to a smokefree life is giving her the financial means to sponsor a young girl born in poverty. And we spotlight the exciting work of two American Lung Association researchers whose unique efforts have created the first smoking cessation program created specifically with and for American Indians.

Tobacco control work and achievements over the last four decades have changed the very meaning and potential impact of public health. Research has been the foundation of this transformation and with future investment we can continue to make progress in preventing smoking, which remains the number-one preventable cause of death in America.

Norman H. Edelman, MD
Chief Medical Officer