Historic smoking report marks 50th anniversary

Associated Press
This Monday, Oct. 13, 1997 file photo shows a cigarette vending machine in a bar in Montpelier, Vt. A law passed by the Legislature banned all cigarette vending machines in the state as of August 28, 1997, but Vermont Attorney General William Sorrell ruled that enforcement of the law would begin in March 1998. On Jan. 11, 1964, U.S. Surgeon General Luther Terry released an emphatic and authoritative report that said smoking causes illness and death - and the government should do something about it. (AP Photo/Toby Talbot)

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Fifty years ago, ashtrays seemed to be on every table and desk. Athletes and even Fred Flintstone endorsed cigarettes in TV commercials. Smoke hung in the air in restaurants, offices and airplane cabins. More than 42 percent of U.S. adults smoked, and there was a good chance your doctor was among them.

The turning point came on Jan. 11, 1964. It was on that Saturday morning that U.S. Surgeon General Luther Terry released an emphatic and authoritative report that said smoking causes illness and death — and the government should do something about it.

In the decades that followed, warning labels were put on cigarette packs, cigarette commercials were banned, taxes were raised and new restrictions were placed on where people could light up. (AP)

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