Climate Discussion Echoes Tobacco Debate

Apr 18, 2014 | All Categories, Journal Articles

In 1962, Luther Terry, the Surgeon General of the Public Health Service, established the Surgeon General’s Advisory Committee on Smoking and Health. On 11 January 1964, he released the committee’s report, “Smoking and Health: Report of the Advisory Committee to the Surgeon General of the United States,” which reviewed the existing science and concluded that lung cancer and chronic bronchitis are causally linked to cigarette smoking. This landmark report marked a critical pivot in our national response to tobacco products, leading to packet warning labels, restrictions on cigarette advertising, and anti-tobacco campaigns. But it by no means ended the debate about what we now know to be horrifically negative public health impacts of tobacco use. Instead, it galvanized the tobacco companies, through their industry-funded Tobacco Institute, to publish a large number of “white papers” to rebut scientific reports critical of tobacco. The demise of the Tobacco Institute came in 1998, as part of the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement, where 46 state attorneys general obtained $206 billion dollars over 25 years from the tobacco industry for its culpability in creating a public health crisis. This bit of history has important parallels to our national discussion of climate change… Download the Article Here.