Surgeon General’s Report

In 1961, prompted by a letter from an alliance of prominent private health organizations, President John F. Kennedy appointed Surgeon General Luther Terry to conduct a review of the scientific literature on smoking. This exhibit in the LBJ Library Great Hall commemorates the 50th anniversary of his report, submitted in January 1964.

On display is the Report of the Advisory Committee of the Surgeon General of the Public Health Service, one of the most important documents in the annals of medicine. In the report, United States Surgeon General Luther L. Terry bluntly states that cigarette smoking causes lung cancer in men. Also featured are samples of candy cigarettes and toy lighters sold to children in the sixties and this video of commercials promoting smoking and tobacco products, and a CBS report on the Surgeon General's Report.

This exhibit was curated by Alan Blum, MD, The University of Alabama Center for the Study of Tobacco and Society. Photos provided by the Center for the Study of Tobacco and Society.

Then & Now

Did You Know…

"The 1964 report on smoking and health had an impact on public attitudes and policy. In 1965, Congress required all cigarette packages distributed in the United States to carry a health warning, and since 1970 this warning is made in the name of the Surgeon General. In 1969, cigarette advertising on television and radio was banned, effective September 1970." [National Library of Medicine] Read more here.

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