More Doctors Smoke Camels

By Johanna Goldberg, Information Services Librarian, with Andrew Gordon, Systems Librarian

This is part of an intermittent series of blogs featuring advertisements from medical journals. You can find the entire series here.

From the 1930s into the 1950s, medical journals—including the Journal of the American Medical Association and the New England Journal of Medicine—ran advertisements for cigarettes.1,2 The New York State Journal of Medicine alone published 600 pages of cigarette advertisements spanning more than two decades, starting in 1933.3 Around the same time, advertising agencies created campaigns featuring physicians; these continued until 1954, as concerns about the negative health effects of smoking grew.2

"How mild can a cigarette be?" Published in the New England Journal of Medicine, volume 240, number 17, April 28, 1949. Click to enlarge.

“How mild can a cigarette be?” Published in the New England Journal of Medicine, volume 240, number 17, April 28, 1949. Click to enlarge.

Presented chronologically below are some of the cigarette advertisements—and one cigarette paraphernalia‎ ad—that appeared in medical journals during the 20-year period. Note especially the 1945 series of ads that ran in several medical journals, including the Medical Woman’s Journal, celebrating the work of war doctors and suggesting that a Camel cigarette could be a welcome break.

Notable, too, is that the earliest ad shown here—printed in Preventive Medicine in 1937—comes from a New York Academy of Medicine publication.

For more information on the history of cigarette advertising, including the use of medical professionals in ads, visit SRITA, Stanford Research into the Impact of Tobacco Advertising.

"Let Your Own Experience Guide You." Published in Preventive Medicine, volume 7, number 1, April 1937. Click to enlarge.

“Let Your Own Experience Guide You.” Published in Preventive Medicine, volume 7, number 1, April 1937. Click to enlarge.

"Look this way for more pleasure." Published in the New England Journal of Medicine, volume 218, number 14, April 7, 1938. Click to enlarge.

“Look this way for more pleasure.” Published in the New England Journal of Medicine, volume 218, number 14, April 7, 1938. Click to enlarge.

"How much do you smoke?" Published in JAMA, volume 12, number 11, March 11, 1944. Click to enlarge.

“How much do you smoke?” Published in JAMA, volume 12, number 11, March 11, 1944. Click to enlarge.

"The Army Doctor's Call to Action!" Published in Medical Woman's Journal, volume 52, number 4, April 1945. Click to enlarge.

“The Army Doctor’s Call to Action!” Published in the Medical Woman’s Journal, volume 52, number 4, April 1945. Click to enlarge.

Combat Team in White! Published in Medical Woman's Journal, volume 52, number 5, May 1945. Click to enlarge.

Combat Team in White! Published in the Medical Woman’s Journal, volume 52, number 5, May 1945. Click to enlarge.

"The Flying Capsules." Published in Medical Woman's Journal, volume 52, number 6, June 1945. Click to enlarge.

“The Flying Capsules.” Published in the Medical Woman’s Journal, volume 52, number 6, June 1945. Click to enlarge.

"Welcome Home, Doctor!" Published in Medical Woman's Journal, volume 52, number 12, December 1945.

“Welcome Home, Doctor!” Published in the Medical Woman’s Journal, volume 52, number 12, December 1945. Click to enlarge.

"Recommended by Physicians to Patients who are 'Problem Smokers.'" Published in JAMA, volume 133, number 11, March 15, 1947.

“Recommended by Physicians to Patients who are ‘Problem Smokers.'” Published in JAMA, volume 133, number 11, March 15, 1947. Click to enlarge.

"Some questions about filter cigarettes that may have occurred to you, Doctor." Published in the New York State Journal of Medicine, volume 53, number 12, June 15, 1953.

“Some questions about filter cigarettes that may have occurred to you, Doctor.” Published in the New York State Journal of Medicine, volume 53, number 12, June 15, 1953. Click to enlarge.

"When your patients ask . . . 'Which Cigarette Shall I Choose?'" Published in the New York State Journal of Medicine, volume 54, number 12, June 15, 1954. Click to enlarge.

“When your patients ask . . . ‘Which Cigarette Shall I Choose?'” Published in the New York State Journal of Medicine, volume 54, number 12, June 15, 1954. Click to enlarge.

References

1. Healy, M. (2011, August 4). Cigarette packages in medical journals: New look for a new age. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved from http://www.latimes.com/health/boostershots/la-heb-cigarette-packages-medical-20110804,0,7658494.story#axzz2rL60QSQm.

2. Gardner, M. N., & Brandt, A. M. (2006). The Doctors’ Choice Is America’s Choice. American Journal of Public Health, 96(2), 222–232. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1470496.

3. Blum, A. (2010). When “More doctors smoked Camels”:  Cigarette advertising in the journal. Social Medicine, 5(2), 114–122. Retrieved from http://www.socialmedicine.info/index.php/socialmedicine/article/view/461/0.

Smoking and Health, 50 Years Later

By Johanna Goldberg, Information Services Librarian

On Saturday, January 11, 1964, fifty years ago this past Saturday, the U.S. Surgeon General released a report that took the country by storm: Smoking and Health: Report of the Advisory Committee to the Surgeon General of the Public Health Service.

While surgeons general had made statements regarding cigarette dangers as early as the 1920s,1 this report marked the beginning of the Office of the Surgeon General’s practice of releasing “authoritative scientific statements,”2 which continues to this day. It also marked the first time a surgeon general report received enormous media attention.1

"Percentage of persons who have never smoked by sex and age, United States, 1955." A chart from Smoking and Health. Click to enlarge.

“Percentage of persons who have never smoked by sex and age, United States, 1955.” A chart from Smoking and Health. Click to enlarge.

To produce Smoking and Health, Surgeon General Dr. Luther L. Terry assembled a committee of 10 doctors from a variety of disciplines, none of whom who had previously spoken publicly about tobacco use, to review more than 7,000 publications, including articles, reports, statements from tobacco companies, and conference proceedings. The committee did not carry out original research, instead performing a thorough review of the literature, completed in just over two years.3

"Trends in Age-Adjusted Mortality Rates for Cancer by Sex." A chart from Smoking and Health. Click to enlarge

“Trends in Age-Adjusted Mortality Rates for Cancer by Sex.” A chart from Smoking and Health. Click to enlarge

The 387-page report made some dire conclusions:

  • Smokers are 70% more likely than non-smokers to die of coronary artery disease; 500% more likely than non-smokers to die of emphysema and chronic bronchitis; and 1,000% more likely to die of lung cancer.
  • Male cigarette smokers have a “9- 10-fold risk of developing lung cancer.” That risk rises to 20-fold for heavy smokers.
  • Cigarette smokers have a 70% higher mortality rate than non-smokers.3

On Sunday, January 12, newspaper front pages and other media sources  around the country featured the report.4 The New York Times alone published 10 articles mentioning the report that day,5 with one on reporters and government employees (including the surgeon general’s assistant for information) smoking in front of the nine no-smoking signs outside the news conference auditorium.6

The report had an immediate impact. In New York, the cigarette tax revenue was 5% lower in January 1964 than the previous year, and 18% lower in February. Cigarette consumption dropped 3.5% nationwide; while it rose in coming years, it never again reached its 1963 peak. One week after the report’s debut, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) released plans to require health warnings in cigarette advertisements and packaging. In place of the FTC’s plans, Congress passed the Cigarette Labeling and Advertising Act of 1965, followed by additional labeling laws.7

"Mortality from Cancer (All Sites), U.S. Death Registration Area of 1900, 1900-1960," a chart from Smoking and Health.

“Mortality from Cancer (All Sites), U.S. Death Registration Area of 1900, 1900-1960,” a chart from Smoking and Health.

How far have we come? In 2011 (the most recent year available from the CDC),  about 19% of adults in America smoked, compared to the approximately 40.3% in 1964.8,9 Looking for information on how to quit smoking and reduce this percentage further? Visit smokefree.gov.

References

1.The Reports of the Surgeon General: Brief history. (n.d.). Retrieved January 7, 2014, from http://profiles.nlm.nih.gov/ps/retrieve/Narrative/NN/p-nid/58.

2. The Reports of the Surgeon General: Changing conceptions of public health. (n.d.). Retrieved January 7, 2014, from http://profiles.nlm.nih.gov/ps/retrieve/Narrative/NN/p-nid/59.

3. United States Surgeon General’s Advisory Committee on Smoking and Health. (1964). Smoking and health: Report of the Advisory Committee to the Surgeon General of the Public Health Service. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare. Public Health Service. Accessible in full online at http://profiles.nlm.nih.gov/NN/B/B/M/Q/.

4. Housman, M. (2001). Smoking and health: The 1964 U.S. Surgeon General’s Report as a turning point in the anti-smoking movement. Health Policy Review, 2(1). Retrieved from http://www.hcs.harvard.edu/~epihc/currentissue/spring2001/housman.html.

5. NYTimes.com search. (n.d.). Retrieved January 7, 2014, from http://query.nytimes.com/search/sitesearch/#/surgeon+general/from19640112to19640112/.

6. Hunter, M. (1964, January 12). Smoking banned at news parley. But some reporters puff sheepishly in corridors. New York Times. Retrieved from http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/zbg90c00/pdf.

7. Sullum, J. (1998). For your own good: The anti-smoking crusade and the tyranny of public health. New York: Free Press.

8. CDC’s Office on Smoking and Health. (2013, June 5). Smoking and tobacco use fact sheet: Adult cigarette smoking in the United States. Retrieved January 7, 2014, from http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/fact_sheets/adult_data/cig_smoking/.

9. United States Public Health Service Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health Office on Smoking and Health, & United States Public Health Service Office of the Surgeon General. (1979). Smoking and health: A report of the Surgeon General. Appendix: Cigarette smoking in the United States, 1950-1978 (pages A-1 through A-29) (Official reports). Retrieved from http://profiles.nlm.nih.gov/ps/retrieve/ResourceMetadata/NNBCPH.