On This Day — US Surgeon General Report Links Tobacco and Cancer (January 11 1964)

“We don’t smoke that shit. We just sell it. We reserve the right to smoke for the young, the poor, the black and stupid.”

R.J. Reynolds executive’s reply when asked why he didn’t smoke according to Dave Goerlitz, lead Winston model for seven years for R.J. Reynolds. [1] 

“Global cigarette use seems to have peaked at about 6 trillion cigarettes sometime after the turn of the new millennium, but the deadly effects of this epidemic will still be felt for decades — even if global use continues to decline. Only about 100 million people died from smoking in the 20th century, whereas several times that are likely to die in the present century, even if current rates of smoking fall dramatically.”

Robert N. Proctor — History Department, Stanford University

“No foreign challenge has had a more direct impact on American families and communities…than the flow of opioids and other drugs into our country. That’s why the CIA is going to invest more heavily in our counter-narcotics effort abroad to combat this terrible threat, one that has killed far more Americans than any terrorist ever has.”

CIA Director Gina Haspel (September 24 2018)

On January 11 1964, a U.S. surgeon general’s report unequivocally linked tobacco products and lung cancer. Although scientists had established the link two decades earlier, the cigarette lobby worked hard to first dismiss and later downplay the evidence. Last year, scientists at the National Toxicology Program have discovered and reported clear evidence linking cellphone to cancer. How long will it take for governments to act responsibly? Follow us on Twitter: @INTEL_TODAY

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Cigarettes cause about 1.5 million deaths from lung cancer per year, a number that will rise to more than 2 million per year by the 2030s, even if consumption rates decline in the interim. How did we get in this mess?

From Ignorance to Evidence

By the 1920s, surgeons were encountering lung tumours with increasing frequency, and started puzzling over what might be responsible.

The rise of this malady was commonly blamed on asphalt dust from newly tarred roads, industrial air pollution, latent effects from exposure to poison gas in the First World War and even the global influenza pandemic of 1918–1919.

In 1939, Franz Hermann Müller — a physician working at the Cologne Hospital — published the first epidemiology study, comparing 86 lung cancer ‘cases’ and a similar number of cancer-free controls.

Müller was able to show that people with lung cancer were far more likely than non-cancer controls to have smoked, a fact confirmed by Eberhard Schairer and Eric Schöniger at the University of Jena in an even more ambitious study from 1943.

These German results were subsequently verified and amplified by UK and American scholars.

Please, watch carefully the following documentary — The Tobacco Conspiracy–  and see for yourself how the tobacco industry recruited corrupted scientists and members of the Mafia to discredit the evidence linking smoking to lung cancer.

And then, ask yourself a simple question. Is the Telecom industry playing the same game today? And why are governments — all over the world — helping them?

RELATED POST: 5G — Belgian Politicians Welcome Chinese Spies… And Trash Environmental Laws

The Tobacco Conspiracy

A history of the tobacco industry’s lies and scams. From the US in 1953 to Africa today, the controversy between individual responsibility and corporate greed is portrayed in a lucid, undaunted manner.

From scientific frauds to working with organized crime, tobacco companies show their hidden agenda more clearly than ever in this theatrically released documentary.

More than three years of investigating all over the world has allowed Nadia Collot to decipher the attitudes of an industry that, in spite of many prevention campaigns still expands its power at the cost of public health.

Three aspects of industry behavior are studied:

1. Scientific subversion: proof of the manipulation of scientific evidence and buying out of scientists to maintain controversy over the health issues related to smoking, but even more so today, related to environmental tobacco smoke.

2. Ideological subversion: whether it be through clever and disguised product placements on screen or TV, creating its own biased health messages, implementing subtle and ingenious marketing tactics or using political lobbying manoeuvres, the tobacco industry has gone to unbelievable extents to do what it says it never will.

3. Economic strategies: to develop as fast as possible, to infiltrate closed-market countries, to better reach the young and the poor, smuggling is one of the ways the industry has chosen to organize its international growth.


1 — Giovanni, J, “Come to Cancer Country; USA; Focus,” The Times of London, August 2, 1992

People Have Tried to Make U.S. Cigarette Warning Labels More Graphic for Decades — SmartNews

The history of the discovery of the cigarette–lung cancer link: evidentiary traditions, corporate denial, global toll by Robert N. Proctor, History Department, Stanford University, Stanford, California 94305, USA


On This Day — US Surgeon General Report Links Tobacco and Cancer (January 11 1964)

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