Sunday, January 11, 2009

Surgeon General says tobacco smoking dangerous on this day in 1964

1964: Cigarettes declared health hazard
U.S. Surgeon General Luther Leonidas Terry today reported the findings of a federal panel which revealed that smoking may lead to major health problems. The ten member federal panel, chaired by Terry, spent 14 months evaluating more than 8,000 studies involving the effects of smoking on health.

"Smoking cigarettes is a health hazard that calls for corrective action – and is a major cause of lung cancer and other death-dealing disease, especially in men, a blue-ribbon federal panel reported today. In short, the panel indicated, the more you smoke, the greater your risk of an early death," reported The Lowell Sun on January 11, 1964. "The panel also linked cigarette smoking to peptic ulcers, to accidental deaths due to home fires, and to a reduction in size of babies born to women who smoke during pregnancy."

NOTE: Although this was not the first time someone in the medical or scientific community suspected tobacco as a possible cause of lung cancer, today's announcement was the first time the U.S. government officially warned against the dangers of smoking.

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