In 1964. You couldn't smoke in your office in a restaurant on airplane. A bar was barely a bar unless there was a cloud of smoke floating from one end to the other. There were glamorous ads for cigarettes on TV. A pack of cigarettes costs 35 cents 300000. Americans died each year of smoking and related diseases. If it's taken fifty years but those days are gone. It started with the warning fifty years ago from the US surgeon general's office the warning morphed to policy changes and even changes to the law. It's far more difficult to smoke any place -- home or an open space. Cigarettes now cost well over five dollars a pack. And yet we are still losing over 400000. People a year too premature death. But for Louisiana the numbers are not too good 25%. Of smoke in the state. And that is the 46 highest in the nation. And that's not good. Nicotine as a powerful and dangerous drug. Let's find out why people in our state use it more than in others. We had a studio filled with incredible experts. Doctor Regina Benjamin. Former US surgeon general and now an endowed chair in public health and Xavier University. Doctor Terry -- them founding dean and professor of -- epidemiology. An L issue Health Science Center. A researcher who conducted the largest study on lung cancer in nonsmoking women. And contributed to the study on the effects of secondhand smoke. Doctor to -- should Davis assistant state health officer with the department of health and hospitals. And doctor -- Harris director of the Louisiana campaign for tobacco free living. A program funded in part by the Louisiana cancer research consortium. Right here in New Orleans I gotta tell you ladies I am overwhelmed. I really mean this this is as much talent this -- my. I think that we've ever had you're just incredible. And I know each of you have many things to say so I'm not gonna that are better round. Why do you think. There are more smokers in Louisiana than another student. It's a tough one. It it it is a tough one but it's also. Similar around the southeast this is -- infringement and our cultural norms it's it's OK just in we. We really have to start to address -- those issues you know this week is the fiftieth anniversary of the surgeon general -- first. Report on smoking and help. That report was issued by doctor and that teary he was surgeon general at that time in of interest some years Louisiana -- doctor teary. Attended Tulane university medical school. In he was taught by doctor -- are only so we can't those relationships here with doctor Terry. And that report as you -- started out the show. During that time over 50% -- smoked. All it was glamorous it was a thing to do and the royal college of surgeons in Britain issued a report. That cancer was caused by cigarettes means our cigarettes caused cancer and doctor -- saw that he. Formed a committee in that committee did its research and found the same thing. But it was so hard battle for doctor Terry to get that report released in once it was released. They actually release it on a Saturday. Because they didn't want to affect the stock market -- -- -- that the things around. The tobacco that existed then still exist in a while we've changed a number of things and and my colleagues here -- getting to a lot. We. Cut smoking it's come down by almost 60%. It's come down open to 2005. In 2005. The smoking levels of decreased dropped off. And what's happening it's leveled off and we are afraid that make a lot. In the reason is is that. We're now targeting their children -- that's right every single day in this country 12100 people die from cigarette smoking. Each one of those deaths has been replaced by two young smokers would call them replacement smokers. 90% of all smokers start before the age of a -- in 99%. Start before the age of 26. If we can just get our young people not to take their first cigarette before the age of 26 they have a list of 1% chance of -- starting and we really could in the that tobacco use in our next generation could become typical for. You know I've I've said this publicly I smoked for twenty years and I felt a lot and I quit in 1986. But when I started smoking it was it was an early step a sixty late 60s67. And I didn't. Really understand. I learned it and then I got scared and I -- you know I got to do this and I've got to quit. But I feel like today with all the education -- that we do know. That it's a dangerous thing or not. We're grownups now even if you're sixteen or seventeen you know it's not a good thing. Why -- they. Continue this is doctor Davis and sue we know a lot -- actor Benjamin mentioned about that -- health defects. Cigarette smoking and tobacco we know the increases. Your risk two to four times of heart disease and stroke. In meant when he three times more likely to develop lung cancer in women thirteen times more likely to develop lung cancer. For our young people we know when doctor Benjamin's most recent surgeon general's report. That there are more susceptible to becoming addicted -- nicotine in having health effects. But we also see Asian mentioned. That just knowing. Isn't enough. We have to move towards comprehensive. Programs that target. And these campaigns. Against our youth. Do we know and that. Tobacco companies are savvy. I need -- we have great. Tobacco prevention and control programs that both the state and our nonprofit partner. Louisiana public health institute runs out we need our community not to become more active around the things that we know in model. For our -- But just like with everything else our youth are. Impressionable. Price of eight they look at with their peers did so youth. Who have peers and family who smoke are more likely to smoke. And we know that youth who are connected. Two. Other types of social programs to schools have religious activities are less likely. -- to do that so what are the things that we have been working on without partners a hearing estate is how to get more community programs. We have statewide programs. That. Are targeting are used in trying to provide comprehensive wellness programs within schools. And smoke free schools. But we can't just be smoke free at school. -- for going home and mom and grandma. Are are still smoking we're not modeling the behavior that we need to suit their play any -- scenes that we can do we just have to continue to use our partners to Q. You know I've always wondered. You're sixteen years old Britney get five dollars every time Pakistan correct I mean it's expensive just a couple of things one is I mean these are. I echo everything you say it because assaults very very true but -- to other parts willingness that. Nicotine is addictive vary -- we know that it's addicting they're over several thousand chemicals in cigarette smoke. 700 of them cause cancer. But nicotine itself as the most. Addictive of the mall. That tobacco companies. Alters the nicotine they won't do something they only an ammonia to nicotine for example in that changes it to -- at -- Free nicotine crosses the blood brain theory much faster and easier. Making it more addictive. And adolescence brains are more sensitive to say US -- they steal. It's smoking even though they know what's that well they're advertised to their marketed to and they'll try one or two in all of a sudden -- leader -- that's flat. Over a thousand. Teenagers become. Every day smokers. Each day so the marketing and advertising. And all of these numbers that I'm throwing out compromise surgeon general's report in each one of those reports are over like. This particular report is over 18100 pages a 150 scientists contribute to -- so these aren't just numbers at a random they're backed by science. A million dollars an hour. Actually over 27 million dollars to -- in marketing is used to market to make tobacco appealing. To the general public. Much of that too young people. Even if you look at. Almost 30% of the movies made for children. Head smoking images and even our even today even today even our beloved movie Shrek -- smoking images. Their images there. To market. Oh my gosh. I'm the only person America has never seen Shrek the fact that we know a whole lot about why we shouldn't be smoking but it's very difficult to quit and we have four incredible. Women in this studio. Doctor Regina Benjamin former US surgeon general doctor Terry -- them founding dean a professor of epidemiology at LSU health science under who's on all kinds of for search. Doctor to key should Davis assistant health. Officer with the department of health and hospitals and doctor Torrey Harris director of the wheezing and a campaign for tobacco free living. Now much to talk about. Let's talk about the addictive property. Yes this is doctor Benjamin and in addition to being former surgeon general I'm also a family physician and I just wanna remind people who. Who smoke and wanna quit that can call the quit line 1800 quit now. But also if you have a friend or you yourself smoke in -- trying this quit. -- -- -- It's not your fault and so we shouldn't demonize people who smoke we should be helping all trust. Because it is so addicting and you have to keep trying keep trying and there's so many. -- products and services that we can. Help you with by -- time to quit line. OK doctor -- -- vast history. The other thing that we can do in addition to helping people who are already. Addicted to cigarettes. Is. Consider that that. Real sensitivity. Of kids starting to smoke and they are more price sensitive. To the price of cigarettes. Then the rest of SR. If the price goes up adults who are already addicted can probably find a way to buy them if if they have to. But the thing that the southern states have in common is they've got the lowest tobacco taxes. And any other in Louisiana is right there among the lowest tobacco tax. Chicago and New York City -- fighting each other to have the highest taxes but -- because they've discovered. That high taxes. Help. Government to do what it's supposed to do and help reduce smoking both indoors. And in terms of the total number of smokers. -- I I was at a conference last week where Michael Terry Luther Terry's son was in and we were focused on that the big anniversary. And it was suggested that for those states that aren't interested in doing taxes we should called and user fees. On cigarettes I don't think it's gonna fool anybody but we really have to get. Those in government positions to make a difference to understand that not all taxes are the same and and some are critically important. And do a public good in addition to raising money so a pack of cigarettes in Chicago or New York if it's five something here would be what there. Our debt the first bomb that New York did brought it up to eight dollars a packet because you've also got federal taxes and now it's it's higher than that. And Chicago has -- just bypassed New York City. And a New York city's rate pop in again with another and so seems like we're always looking for streams of revenue in the state. What stops us. Is that the tobacco industry that's pressuring. Well they certainly have a have a voice and and -- make their presence felt sure -- I think the restaurant and and hotel industry. I'm they have concerns of what. That might do but they're more concerned about clean indoor air which in fact. Increases usage of restaurants and hotels does in the -- but that. That there's some miss. Understandings. About it and we need to do a better job than Kate let me jump. They have outdoor. No smoking in public parks were children airplanes you can't can't smoke. When we what we see in the south though is at smokers' rights is smokers' rights seems to to to be the conversation. Where is nonsmokers have rights to and we know that secondhand smoke kills. And I -- other group surgeon general's report that show you that secondhand smoke kills and we had a one what we call the heart stopper. Exposure to once here. Can cause heart that well Terry -- did incredible research and I know that you were. Did you go before congress. Talking about secondhand smoke. Subpoenaed a few times and -- Get bit distant testifying at EPA and it levels not not not in congress and but in government spending got to government age issue -- does affect people oh absolutely. And and it has been yeah that was we were just finding out in in. That the early ninety's the late eighties and early ninety's but now I that the data is in touch her I mean -- -- clearly. Isn't good for yet. It it's horrible for you if -- an active smoker but if you're passive smoker. Exposed second is that it's -- it's it's important deadly hit two really bring home net portal because as we talked about none of us. On the panel of smokers every time we're exposed. To secondhand smoke. We increase our race. Lung cancer in front panel has been. Affected by it's absolutely -- mother died. From lung cancer from smoking she started as a teenager because. Hersh of the twin brother he could smoke -- she was a girl they wouldn't let -- insists she said she got to old enough she was gonna smoke. And so. Every one of us knows somebody who suffered and there's so many medical. Things out there every time -- you were exposed to cigarette smoke. Your blood vessels constrict. Contracts so they -- so many different things at that tobacco and smoking does that we know -- So now what do we do so you know the so what now. Now we know that we've come fifty years of of of getting that across and we've changed social norms is no longer glamorous to smooth it is no longer just it it. So now how to we switched incomplete. The cycle correct I think in Louisiana we have some work to do. On because we have one at the third lowest on tobacco taxes ours is -- 36 cents in New York is four dollars and fifty degrees and and as doctor fans find them stated they're looking to increase their taxes out. But we also don't have many CDs inner city. That art tobacco -- -- smoke free excuse me with comprehensive smoke free lot the only -- Alexandria and then recently Monroe. Los atop parish and west Monroe and what does that mean and smoke free means that you can't smoke inside a racetrack we already have that. Provision that you cannot smoke inside of a bar. Or casino parking facility and area so. A lot of people we received some push back because people don't understand how. Sixties as a bar and so how we have to him. Increase a lot of awareness about how. Derek their profit is not in a decrease in beside Alexander and we did so am I am -- that the smoking ban really had no effect on business. I'm so we had that kind of research to tout. Across our other cities and even here and were honest to say we need comprehensive smoke free laws here so that when we go out to these facilities like bars and casinos. We will not be exposed to secondhand smoke so we have to do a lot of work and through -- tobacco free living we do media campaign to inform people. About them rift. I have it's smoking and secondhand smoke and the benefits of adding. Indoor clean indoor care. -- -- -- To -- I spoke this past weekend at a conference of 3000 people there it was in Las Vegas and it was at one of the casinos. In the conference attendees at the end Hussein. This place smells so much like smoke we will never come back year that was account for everything else is perfect epic being you the the people were wonderful day. The rule was great but they say they would never come back because the smoke -- If you have any questions or if you wanna talk about your own issues about smoking don't hesitate to call us at 260187. Day. 2601870. We have a caller Russell from New Orleans Russell. Yes good afternoon it will bring so much for taking my call. All -- have a unique situation here for ball on. You never give poker and -- -- Off or I lived in an apartment are written from a major. Rental company I won't say it may but. I have an issue with. Agee and smoker in the apartment complex particularly warm. -- is an extremely heavy smoker believe it or not she's even on oxygen. And -- wrong more often than not even apartment entry into my apartment. If we cigarette smoke. Are well ball. And -- quite -- believes. And dog itself so I'll call in our position. The -- documented that there's a possibility could be from second hand smoke all. Our hearts through. Rationalized -- would you management of the complex. I'll -- issue but have been basically told. That the other renters. Couple right to smoke in their apartments which I cannot dispute but. People that I felt like -- Have a smoke free apartment in my old home. And I don't know what type for the record I was wondering if you're -- that he could go make your partner in the right direction. Well this is doctor Benjamin. But on the other hand you have rights as well. We have studies scientific studies to show that smoke. In the chemicals from the smoke. Passed through your walls and apartments. The use of a chemical that it's measure and we can measure those in adjacent apartments -- you can see that the smoke does pass through. In Chicago. This cargo housing board with department of health the good health and urban development. Did some of these studies and they saw that and they and basically in their. Public housing. I want it to allow people to be in the smoke free. In tower built. Well. They were sure people would do it well they decided to put in a he's waiting list and let people get on this to say if they want at this. Not only did they get enough to fill up one of the units they've been hit waiting list every since they've done it in the waiting lists are getting bigger and bigger. And there are documents out data shows that. The smoke just come through the wall it comes through the ventilation system and you have the same exposure as a smoker and so. You know it's one of those things that. Our Europe your landlord hasn't caught up with the times yet but if enough people start to move out they -- having. The right -- Either have one wing of it or just like hotels they're floors that are that. We're very quickly gonna go to another caller Alex in New Orleans. I saw I don't want that -- -- -- -- what what their feeling where. On now on electronic cigarettes but I got some friends to be switched over from cigarette out on a cigarette and seems like -- Obama -- a great deal. Thank you that's a great question. So. The FDA has not regulated the electronic cigarettes yet however there is a move meant for for our state attorney general's two. Sign a petition our letter. Indicating that. But -- the fact of the matter is they're still nicotine in them. So we don't exactly know quite yet what he'd have ramifications are smoking an electronic cigarette but we're not by any means promoting is the nicotine. With the same. Content. With all the chemicals that's in a regular cigarette -- this doctor Benjamin in the country it's different their paper and so you don't have those 70000 chemicals however. They are. There's two parts with their electronic cigarettes one is that they do contain nicotine and nicotine is addictive. At a point they're gonna be so addictive -- they're gonna be enough insulin you can probably as a gateway in gateway to the actual cigarettes. But the other part of of the attracted. It's glamorizing the idea of smoking in their four introducing young people to the glamour of smoking so we have those two things. On the other hand I guess a good part about. Thank you for that wonderful question doctor -- care. -- one of the themes I wanted to mention was that last year. I during the last legislative session and for Louisiana. Act 211 was passed and that required all public institutions are of higher education to go smoke free. Across the -- so we're anticipating that back August 2014 everybody will be smoke free that we are also encouraging them to -- tobacco free meaning. No use of dip or this -- as either a tobacco products on their campus and we're really glad to mark that all of these historically black colleges and universities. In the state of Louisiana have already gone tobacco free and if you wanna hear more about smoke free air -- In your area you can go Q let's be totally clear that sport. Beautiful -- in addition to that at. To be landing -- -- -- -- really builds upon are smoke free air comprehensive laden was passed in 2007. I think it was Russell from New Orleans who called in and played out to less than that smoke free law does have a lot of loopholes as we've heard about it doesn't cover bars in game facilities -- private. Apartment buildings -- Al lead in health care facilities. Still in our state that are smoke free -- a lot of -- and blows your mind that you sometimes have to walk through smokers to get your health care. And so we're working very hard. On making sure those facilities as well as our schools a particularly because as a pediatrician look at this as a pediatric epidemic. The a -- secondhand smoke has on children. Increasing their infections there hasn't outbreaks and air visits to the emergency room. When they are. The smoker you know I just have to say. Because I know there's somebody listening sank you know what I have every right to smoke I want to assist America -- -- -- something I -- as this former smoker I probably thought that myself. The reality is to figure I have it's a 193 billion dollars it cost this country every year. Initially it's costing us. Well we have every right to be upset yes it's and they do have a right and but how. This doctor -- again cover one and three young adults between the age of eighteen and 26 smoke today. And 600000. Middle school students spoke. In -- three million high school students smoke that adults have that right. These kids are being manipulated. As Xavier University our young people have been taken on this initiative to to try to become -- are they we are tobacco free. But also encourage others we're doing things with young people. We are coming up on a conference here in New Orleans did come. In. Celebration of this fiftieth anniversary and surgeon general's warning we're gonna have a conference on. It's February 11 all day conference where. All of the four living former surgeons general have agreed to come -- attend that conference but we're also inviting. All of the schools. Middle school students in high school students. Throughout the New Orleans and Jefferson Parish area to come. As well. And we're going to be streaming this conference throughout the state to other schools and the idea is to get young people to understand. They will be the ones who change and again as -- closure earlier. 12100 people die every day from cigarette smoke. And each one of those smokers are being replaced by two young smokers in 9% start before the age of eighteen so we can. Have this conference focusing on young people and getting them they're the ones is gonna change and they're absolutely and their generation will become tobacco for yes. That is you latch on to the right kids just say let me be the leader in this messed up no smoking you've got it. Doctor far from where do you mean you've been in this involving -- so many years where do you think will be fifty years from now. I am encouraged that we will. We we can and smoking as we know it today. And I think. Fifty years and now will be there. How we get there will be an interesting process. But the first countries. Who had totally smoke free for the whole entire country. Work Ireland and Italy. If you've ever been to Europe and you've been in those countries that pubs and smoking. And and Francis. It's not pre. We could do something on national scale. There right now we're trying to do piecemeal state by state. The states that have been successful have done a bang up job and there are states where the smoking rate is 15%. 13%. Of the population and more -- the success stories he. Nationally we're covering it when he. If it gets down that low it's gonna eventually. It really be a thing of the past on it it's it will no longer be -- to -- -- recognizes deadly which it is we have a couple of callers are first when those asking. The. What's the risk of marijuana and secondhand smoke when you're saying that there isn't science on that yet but we don't have enough science yet to. To know what the long term risk there of marijuana is but. Just common sense tells you mean your being around secondhand. Smoke people feel the effects up so. We need more research but we I would just suggest that you -- your distance OK you know the show was really about. We made such progress on many levels in the last fifty years and yet we still fighting the fight and Louisiana particular has a higher rate of smoking. And that is still disturbing but we also have some incredible programs to help so you're out there listening and you really do want to quit there is help out. There. That they areas in -- just a reminder you mentioned it earlier in the show. And that -- 1800 quit now line. Is available two current smokers do really encouraged -- to make a decision to quit today. By calling that line you'll be connected to a certified quick coached. That will help you to make a personalized plan everybody's decision to quit is unique. In their reasons. In ways and support to be able to do where there and you'll be able to get connected today coach and also. I'm nicotine replacement therapy at no cost if needed. We like to know caution you know even taller talk about this it is not to put people down and just say this is this can kill you and it has killed many and you can get help. It's also to say that we want our next generation to become tobacco free totally because even everything we've talked about today. Today smoking's still the number one cause of preventable death in this country in spite of all the work in -- -- that we done it's still the number one cause of preventable. I would also encourage people who are listening out there. To contact your local council person -- your state representative and then tell -- you want to smoke free environment and your CD. And acting that way we can begin to make some progress across the C okay. Conference very important I love the fact that it's going to be young people in front of all of those attorneys general. Surgeons and did I say that Sergio a look and we are not. To. Get caught it it was like -- It it will be these young people end. In addition it'll be streamed live on the web so anybody can you can watch it on the web we will have some. Tobacco advocates we have the this is part of a year long campaign around the awareness of the fiftieth anniversary we're starting here with this large conference in New Orleans. We will have other regions around the country and we will end up in November with the American public health association's conference being here in New Orleans. And part of theirs will be concentrating on tobacco efforts we can do this I cannot thank you all enough you're just outstanding in every way it's been a pleasure.