Smoking and Health

November 14, 1962

Report Outline
Concern About the Effects of Smoking
Clash Over Evidence on Health Effects
Uphill Fight Against Use of Tobacco

Concern About the Effects of Smoking

Efforts to Establish Facts on Health Aspects

The new advisory Committee on Smoking and Health, I appointed by the Surgeon General of the United States Public Health Service at the direction of President Kennedy, has two principal assignments: (1) to make “a comprehensive review of all available data on smoking and other factors in the environment that may affect health”; (2) to recommend a program of action by the federal government if warranted by its findings in this highly controversial field. The committee's work will parallel in some respects a study of tobacco and health announced last June by the American Medical Association. That study is being made by the A.M.A.'s Council on Drugs. Dr. William C. Spring, secretary of the council, said at the time of the announcement: “It's time to stand up and be counted.”

In Great Britain, a report last March by the Royal College of Physicians recommended government action to discourage cigarette smoking. Subsequently restrictions were placed on the timing and content of cigarette commercials on television, cigarette vending machines were removed from locations where they were accessible to minors, smoking in various public places was banned, and a government campaign to inform the public on the hazards of smoking was put under way.

Like action here was urged on the basis of the British report but the President decided that, in view of continuing disagreement among eminent medical men on the dangers of smoking, an authoritative finding was needed to win public support for such restrictive measures as might be found appropriate. Whatever the ultimate recommendations of the new advisory committee, the government can be expected to move cautiously in carrying into effect policies that might disrupt an $8 billion industry which utilizes a major agricultural product, and yields $2 billion a year in federal tax revenues and $1 billion a year in state revenues.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Smoking and the Tobacco Industry
May 10, 2019  E-Cigarette Dilemma
Sep. 19, 2014  E-Cigarettes
Dec. 10, 2004  Tobacco Industry Updated
Nov. 12, 1999  Closing In on Tobacco
Dec. 01, 1995  Teens and Tobacco
Sep. 30, 1994  Regulating Tobacco
Dec. 04, 1992  Crackdown on Smoking
Sep. 21, 1990  Tobacco Industry: on the Defensive, but Still Strong
Mar. 24, 1989  Who Smokes, Who Starts—and Why
Oct. 05, 1984  Tobacco Under Siege
Jan. 21, 1977  Anti-Smoking Campaign
Nov. 24, 1967  Regulation of the Cigarette Industry
Nov. 14, 1962  Smoking and Health