The Harmful Effects of Smoking: The Public Denial in the Early-mid 1960s

On January 11, 1964, Luther L. Terry, M.D., Surgeon General of the U.S. Public Health Service, released the first comprehensive compilation of research linking cigarette smoking to severe adverse health effects. The report used more than 7,000 articles relating to smoking and disease already available in the peer-reviewed biomedical literature at that time. The release of the report was the first in a series of steps being taken for more than 50 years to diminish the impact of tobacco use on the health of the American people. [1][2]

In the video (top): Following the US Surgeon General’s report of January 1964, Howard S. Cullman, a director at Philip Morris, dismissed the findings: “We don’t accept the idea that there are harmful agents in tobacco.” (CBS News Television 1964)

Early in his career, Cullman was vice president and later president of Cullman Brothers. Together with his brother Joseph, he formed Tobacco and Allied Stocks, the first tobacco‐investment‐securities trust, which acquired controlling interests in Benson & Hedges and Philip Morris. In 1938, following his father’s death, Joseph and Howard gained control of Cullman Brothers, which owned a seat on the New York Stock Exchange, and through it made investments in tobacco, real estate, and other interests. Culman died at age 80. (New York Times, June 30, 1972, Page 38)

For more information:
[1] Tobacco Companies are Finally Moving Closer to Revealing the Truth about Smoking – 50 Years After First Surgeon General Report – Onco’Zine – The International Oncology Network, January 10, 2014.
[2] Smoking: A health hazard of sufficient importance – The First Surgeon General Report.