The January 1956 edition of The Atlantic Monthly quotes The American Cancer Society as saying it “does not hold that smoking causes cancer of the lung. It does not propose to tell the public not to smoke.”
In the 1960s, a person sick with a respiratory illness could visit her doctor and think nothing of him smoking a cigarette in a closed-door, windowless room while examining her.
Into the 1990s, smoking on airplanes and inside most public buildings was commonplace.
Sure, there were plenty who suspected tobacco smoking was a major individual and public health concern long before the Surgeon General got involved, but smoking was so routine and considered so benign, that things like “Smokes for the Troops” fundraising campaigns existed to supply tobacco to U.S. soldiers in 1918 during World War I.
In the following years, doctors began discovering the correlation between the heavy-smoking war veterans and the various…
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