At one time, smoking was sexy, and the health threats that cigarettes posed were relatively unknown. But over the past several decades, scientists and doctors have been seeking to understand the truth and provide Americans with information to help us make healthy decisions. Various levels of government have also enacted laws to help protect us from secondhand smoke and to protect kids from seductive advertising.
Here’s a look at 12 milestones in that history:
1964: A report by the U.S. Surgeon General recognized the link between smoking and lung cancer.
1966: Health warnings started to appear on cigarette packs. They read, “Caution – cigarette smoking may be hazardous to your health.”
1977: The first Great American Smokeout was held.
1984: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved nicotine gum as an anti-smoking aid.
1987: Smoking was banned on U.S. flights of less than two hours.
1990: Smoking was banned on all domestic flights of less than six hours, except to Alaska or Hawaii.
1990: San Luis Obispo, California, banned smoking in all public buildings, including bars and restaurants. It was the first city to do so.
1993: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency called cigarette smoke a class A carcinogen.
1997: A tobacco company executive for the first time testified that cigarettes cause cancer.
2006: The U.S. Surgeon General released a report that said definitively that secondhand smoke is harmful.
2006: In her ruling in the U.S. Department of Justice’s federal lawsuit against the tobacco companies, a judge found that the tobacco industry had lied to the American people for 50 years about the effects of tobacco.
2016: A report by the U.S. Surgeon General noted that e-cigarette use among young people is a public health concern.
2017: Three states passed laws making 21 the legal age at which a person can purchase tobacco, bringing the total to five states.
Making your own milestones
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