CDC director takes aim at tobacco use

HAZARD, Ky. (AP) - A top U.S. health official has taken aim at tobacco use as a leading contributor to several diseases during a visit to Kentucky, where tobacco remains a big cash crop.

Dr. Thomas Frieden identified tobacco as the No. 1 preventable cause of death in the U.S. Frieden is director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. He said Tuesday that tobacco affects virtually every part of the body and contributes to cancer, heart disease and strokes.

Frieden spoke at a symposium in Hazard during a visit to eastern Kentucky to discuss ways to improve the region's grim health statistics.

The prevalence of cancer, heart disease and diabetes are much higher in the state's Appalachian region than the national average.

Frieden also stressed the need for physical activity, calling it the closest thing to a "wonder drug."

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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