Surgeon General cigarette warning
In January 1964, the U.S. Surgeon General’s office released its first report on smoking and health, a comprehensive scientific review which identified cigarettes as a major public health hazard. Fifty years later, the impacts of that landmark document are still being felt. Dr. Luther L. Terry, who served as Surgeon General at the time of the report’s release later recalled that it “hit the country like a bombshell.”
The report quickly shifted public attitudes about smoking. Within months, the Federal Trade Commission ordered cigarette manufacturers to place a warning label on their products. In 1969, cigarette advertising on American TV and radio was banned.
Since the initial report, adult smoking rates have been cut in half. However, tobacco remains a major killer of Americans. Smoking - which is linked to 11 different types of cancer, chronic lung disease and heart disease - remains the leading cause of preventable and premature death in this country.
Dr. Charles LeMaistre served on the advisory panel that issued the first Surgeon General report on smoking. He later went on to become MD Anderson’s second full-time president. Over the past five decades, we’ve expanded our commitment to combat lung cancer. Our efforts have included:
- Launch of the Moon Shots Program in 2012, an unprecedented effort to dramatically accelerate scientific discoveries into clinical advances that reduce cancer deaths. Lung cancer is one of the initial cancers being targeted by the program.
- Starting in 2000, funds from the National Cancer Institute and the George and Barbara Bush Endowment for Innovative Cancer Research helped MD Anderson establish ASPIRE (A Smoking Prevention Interactive Experience). ASPIRE is an evidence-based, multimedia tobacco prevention and cessation program for middle and high school kids.
In the years ahead, MD Anderson will continue to expand our efforts to curb smoking and combat lung cancer. In summer 2014, MD Anderson unveiled the details of the End Tobacco plan, an aggressive campaign to curb smoking and prevent disease.