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Cigarette consumption reached an all-time national high in the early 1960s. With scientific articles linking cigarettes with cancer, the public questioned whether the personal choice was a hazardous one. As a result, the federal government began investigating the health effects of cigarette smoking and regulating the tobacco industry's labeling and advertising. Under the direction of United States Surgeon General Dr. Luther Leonidas Terry (1961-1965), the Public Health Service (PHS) issued one of the first large-scale initiatives to curtail the power of American Tobacco, the 1964 Smoking and Health: Report of the Advisory Committee to the Surgeon General of the Public Health Service. The events involving the report’s origins, findings, and the debate that preceded the passing of the 1965 Federal Cigarette Labeling and Advertising Act (FCLAA) were greatly influenced by the political context of the 1960s. This project sought to evaluate and construct an overview of the historical narrative of Dr. Terry’s political efforts, successes, and failures in his leadership of the smoking and health debate of the 1960s.

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Current Academic Year


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Emilie Raymond


Virginia Commonwealth University. Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program

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VCU Undergraduate Research Posters


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Politics of the Cigarette: Smoking, Health, and the Surgeon General (1960-1969)