I am retiring and handing over the reins of the Dr. Hurt blog, to Dr. Taylor Hays, who succeeded me as the Director of the Mayo Clinic Nicotine Dependence Center. Dr. Hays is a physician who is Board Certified in Internal Medicine and Addiction Medicine. In addition to being a Professor of Medicine in the Mayo College of Medicine and working as a physician in the Department of Medicine at Mayo Clinic he has worked with me at the Nicotine Dependence Center since 1992. I am confident that you will enjoy his unique perspective in the blogs that Dr. Hays will be posting
It has been a privilege working with people who have joined the www.becomeanex.org community to achieve a tobacco-free life. I hope there has been value to many based on our clinical acumen. Since we started the Nicotine Dependence Center more than 25 years ago, we’ve treated over 52,000 patients for tobacco dependence, conducted hundreds of research studies on treatments for tobacco dependence, and trained thousands of health care providers on how to help people stop smoking. One of the highlights of my career has been working with the Legacy Foundation to use social media to reach people who want to stop smoking, and being a part of the becomeanex.org community.
Fifty years ago, the first Surgeon General Report confirmed the scientific evidence that smoking causes lung cancer and other diseases. Now we know that it causes many different cancers, heart disease, pulmonary disease, and numerous other health problems. The World Health Organization forecast in 2005 that 1 billion people worldwide will die from tobacco use in this century if nothing is done. We also know how to end the tobacco epidemic. Public health measures like smoke-free laws, increasing the cost of cigarettes, stopping the advertising of cigarettes, and making treatment more widely available are working. Some countries are talking about the “Endgame” – envisioning a world where people will no longer die from tobacco-caused illnesses.
Each one of you who stop smoking and stay stopped are part of that vision of a healthy future. Stopping smoking is the single best thing a smoker can do to live a longer and healthier life. I plan to continue to work in other venues to create a world in which children don’t start smoking and anyone who wants to stop is given all the tools they need to stop. I wish you well, and hope to see you in the future in our continued journey in tobacco-free living.