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The "mother of all battles": against smoking.

September 1991 marked the beginning of "the largest anti-tobacco campaign ever ... in an effort to cut smoking rates in half by the year 2000," says a recent USA Today report.

The plan, called ASSIST (American StopSmoking Intervention Study), is a $135 million campaign sponsored by the National Cancer Institute and the American Cancer Society. It will affect 90 to 100 million people in areas served by 20 state or major metropolitan health departments. Its goal is to cut the current smoking rate from 28 percent of the population to only 15 percent.

The five-year program will focus on school-children, in hope of preventing them from taking up the habit. It will also use schools, churches, synagogues, and health groups to distribute antismoking material and assist smokers in quitting. In addition, it will blanket communities with antismoking ads and public-service announcements.

The Journal of the National Cancer Institute recently reported that lung cancer has replaced heart disease as the main cause of death among smokers. "We never have put serious money into controlling smoking the same way we have with cholesterol and high blood pressure," says the NCI's Donald Shopland, who created the campaign.
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Title Annotation:American Stop Smoking Intervention Study
Publication:Medical Update
Date:Oct 1, 1991
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