The life of Dr. Luther Terry, the former surgeon general who issued the landmark “Smoking and Health” report 50 years ago, was honored Saturday with a wreath-laying ceremony in Arlington National Cemetery. Approximately 100 people attended the event, despite the rain, including acting Surgeon General Boris Lushniak, former Surgeon General David Satcher, officers from the U.S. Public Health Service and members of Terry’s family.
The report, issued Jan. 11, 1964, led to the first legislation requiring warning labels on cigarette packaging and banning tobacco advertising on television. It also led to a dramatic shift in public perception of the hazards of smoking. By 1969, 70 percent of Americans believed smoking caused heart disease, more than double the amount from 1958.
Smoking is still the nation’s No. 1 cause of death, killing 443,000 Americans and costing the nation $193 billion in health care expenses and lost productivity each year.
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Photos courtesy of Sue Nelson.