The first tobacco crop has gone to auction in Florida in the United States, one of 22 states in the U.
The first tobacco crop has gone to auction in Florida in the United States, one of 22 states in the U.S. with a thriving tobacco growing industry. And despite economic problems throughout the country, spokesmen in the tobacco industry are optimistic about high profits as the demand for cigarettes continues in the face of anti-smoking campaigns and medical warnings.
In 1974, the average resident of the United States over 18 years old smoked 4,270 cigarettes. At the same time 75,000 people in the U.S. died of lung cancer and 90 percent of them were smokers.
Between the ages of 45 and 54 the death rate among smokers is three times higher than that of non-smokers.
In January, 1964, the U.S. Surgeon General issued the first Government warning that cancer and smoking were linked. The announcement was followed by a drop in smoking, but in recent years it has begun to rise again to pre-1964 levels.
Since 1964 there have also been efforts to restrict tobacco advertising and several years ago it was banned from television.
Some countries have taken much stronger measures against smoking. Sweden is so alarmed by the health statistics, that it has launched a wide ranging programme which includes prohibition of smoking in public places, progressive restrictions on cigarette advertising, and anti-smoking education in schools and maternity clinics.
It has also permitted the price of cigarettes to rise progressively through increased taxation. A pack of cigarettes in Sweden now costs about 68 pence sterling (1.50 U.S. dollars).
Some scientific efforts are now under way to develop a non-tobacco substitute. One United States company claims that its 16 years of research are showing results. It plans to test market its wood-pulp based cigarette in Great Britain.
Separate research projects are also underway in Great Britain, where the government has set up a special committee to oversee development and pass judgement on the safety of any suggested substitutes.