Tag Archives: tobacco

NRC and IOM Led Efforts to Reduce Smoking in the United States

The National Research Council and the Institute of Medicine have a history of leading efforts to reduce smoking in the United States for the benefit of public health. Twenty-five years ago this month, the National Research Council released a highly influential report that led to the smoking ban on airliners. Dr. Donald Stedman shared with us his recollections from the time when he served as a member of the NRC authoring committee for The Airliner Cabin Environment: Air Quality and Safety.

“I believe that my participation in that committee will stand as my major contribution to human welfare regardless of my research and other activities. Twenty-five years ago the tobacco industry owned the media. If an editor put in anything bad about tobacco his paper lost their cigarette ad revenue. Congress did indeed pass the ban [on smoking on flights] but only for short flights and only for two years. Then their mail was apparently 100-1 in favor of a nationwide ban, which they did, and now it is worldwide.”

Since publication of this National Research Council report, the Institute of Medicine has continued to lead the way in the fight to lower the U.S. smoking rate. Ending the Tobacco Problem: A Blueprint for the Nation reviewed effective prevention and treatment interventions and new tobacco control policies for adoption by federal and state governments. Some of this book’s recommendations were considered controversial at the time, such as smoking bans for all nonresidential indoor settings nationwide and a requirement for all public and private health insurance plans to make coverage of smoking cessation programs a lifetime benefit.

More recently, Secondhand Smoke Exposure and Cardiovascular Effects: Making Sense of the Evidence focused on the relationship between secondhand smoke and heart problems. This book reported that smoking bans are an effective way to reduce the risk of heart attacks and heart disease associated with exposure to secondhand smoke. The book also confirmed that there is sufficient evidence that breathing secondhand smoke boosts nonsmokers’ risk for heart problems.

These and other books about the public health effects of smoking are available to read or download.

Ending the Tobacco Problem: A Blueprint for the Nation
Ending the Tobacco Problem: A Blueprint for the Nation

The nation has made tremendous progress in reducing tobacco use during the past 40 years. Despite extensive knowledge about successful interventions, however, approximately one-quarter of American adults still smoke. Tobacco-related illnesses and death place a huge burden on our society…
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Consumer Health Information Technology in the Home
Secondhand Smoke Exposure and Cardiovascular Effects: Making Sense of the Evidence

Data suggest that exposure to secondhand smoke can result in heart disease in nonsmoking adults. Recently, progress has been made in reducing involuntary exposure to secondhand smoke through legislation banning smoking in workplaces, restaurants, and other public places. The effect …
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Consumer Health Information Technology in the Home
Clearing the Smoke: Assessing the Science Base for Tobacco Harm Reduction

Despite overwhelming evidence of tobacco’s harmful effects and pressure from anti-smoking advocates, current surveys show that about one-quarter of all adults in the United States are smokers. This audience is the target for a wave of tobacco products and …
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Consumer Health Information Technology in the Home
Growing Up Tobacco Free: Preventing Nicotine Addiction in Children and Youths

Tobacco use kills more people than any other addiction and we know that addiction starts in childhood and youth. We all agree that youths should not smoke, but how can this be accomplished? What prevention messages will they find compelling? …
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Consumer Health Information Technology in the Home
Combating Tobacco Use in Military and Veteran Populations

The health and economic costs of tobacco use in military and veteran populations are high. In 2007, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the Department of Defense (DoD) requested that the Institute of Medicine (IOM) make recommendations on how …
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Consumer Health Information Technology in the Home
The Airliner Cabin Environment and the Health of Passengers and Crew

Although poor air quality is probably not the hazard that is foremost in peoples minds as they board planes, it has been a concern for years. Passengers have complained about dry eyes, sore throat, dizziness, headaches, and other …
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Health Care Comes Home
The Airliner Cabin Environment: Air Quality and Safety

Each year Americans take more than 300 million plane trips staffed by a total of some 70,000 flight attendants. The health and safety of these individuals are the focus of this volume from the Committee on Airliner Cabin Air Quality. …
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New Publications This Week (10/19-10/23)

Some weeks are bigger than others, and this week is one of those big weeks. Two of our publications got a lot of attention—School Meals and Hidden Costs of Energy—so we thought we’d feature both of them.

There are plenty more, though: two publications on childhood obesity, as well as publications covering tobacco use in the military, the Department of Defense’s Fast Track of SBIR, NASA, and state voter registration.

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Featured Publications

School Meals: Building Blocks for Healthy Children (prepublication)


Ensuring that the foods provided to children in schools are consistent with current dietary recommendations is an important national focus. Various laws and regulations govern the operation of school meal programs. In 1995, Nutrition Standards and Meal Requirements were put in place to ensure that all meals offered would be high in nutritional quality.

School Meals: Building Blocks For Healthy Children reviews and provides recommendations to update the nutrition standard and the meal requirements for the National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program. The recommendations reflect new developments in nutrition science, increase the availability of key food groups in the school meal programs, and allow these programs to better meet the nutritional needs of children, foster healthy eating habits, and safeguard children’s health.

School Meals sets standards for menu planning that focus on food groups, calories, saturated fat, and sodium and that incorporate Dietary Guidelines for Americans and the Dietary Reference Intakes. This book will be used as a guide for school food authorities, food producers, policy leaders, state/local government and parents.


Hidden Costs of Energy: Unpriced Consequences of Energy Production and Use (prepublication)


Despite the many benefits of energy, most of which are reflected in energy market prices, the production, distribution, and use of energy causes negative effects. Many of these negative effects are not reflected in energy market prices. When market failures like this occur, there may be a case for government interventions in the form of regulations, taxes, fees, tradable permits or other instruments that will motivate recognition of these external or hidden costs.

Hidden Costs of Energy defines and evaluates key external costs and benefits that are associated with the production, distribution, and use of energy, but not reflected in market prices. In aggregate, the damage estimates presented here are substantial, and reflect damages from air pollution associated with electricity generation, motor vehicle transportation, and heat generation. The book also considers other effects not quantified in dollar amounts, such as damages from climate change, effects of some air pollutants such as mercury, and risks to national security.

While not a comprehensive guide to policy, this analysis indicates that major initiatives to further reduce other emissions, improve energy efficiency, or shift to a cleaner electricity-generating mix could substantially reduce the damages of external effects. A first step in minimizing the adverse consequences of new energy technologies is to better understand these external effects and damages. Hidden Costs of Energy will therefore be a vital informational tool for government policy makers, scientists, and economists in even the earliest stages of research and development on energy technologies.

All Publications This Week

Protecting and Accessing Data from the Survey of Earned Doctorates: A Workshop Summary (prepublication)

Improving State Voter Registration Databases Final Report (prepublication)

Childhood Obesity Prevention in Texas: Workshop Summary (prepublication)

Community Perspectives on Obesity Prevention in Children: Workshop Summary (prepublication)

Revisiting the Department of Defense SBIR Fast Track Initiative (final)

Combating Tobacco Use in Military and Veteran Populations (final)

Fostering Visions for the Future: A Review of the NASA Institute for Advanced Concepts (final)