Hazardous To Your Health

The Surgeon General Makes His Case

The year 1964 marked the last time that anyone in America relaxed with a cigarette. The date, to be exact, was January 10, 1964. On the next day Surgeon General Luther L. Terry released his advisory panel’s report on smoking and health. After that, people could still smoke, of course, but never again in the hazy delusion that cigarettes were harmless.

The connection between smoking and disease had been noted early on.Read more »

Smoking and “Business”

Why, with cigarette smoking under attack everywhere, does everyone still light up on the movie screen?

There was a “Nightline” a while back during which Jeff Greenfield delivered a puzzled examination of smoking in the movies. The gist of it was that while smoking has declined in real life in the last thirty years, characters in movies smoke as much as they did in the hevdav of Bogart and Bette Davis. There has even been a study of this, showing the percentage of smokers among characters by age group. (But how do they tell if Christian Slater’s character is twenty-nine or thirty-one in a given movie?) Read more »

Agents Of Change

You’ve probably never heard of them, but these ten people changed your life. Each of them is a big reason why your world today is so different from anyone’s world in 1954

For want of nails, kingdoms are won and lost. We all know that. The shoe slips, the horse stumbles, the army dissolves in retreat. But who designed the nails? Who hammered the nails? Who invented the nail-making machinery? Who figured out how to market the nails in neat plastic blister packs hung from standardized wire racks in hardware stores? • The house of history, that clever balloon frame of statistics and biographies in which we shelter our sense of tradition, of progress, of values gained and lost, is nailed together with anonymity.Read more »

“I’ll Trade You Two John Arkinses For An O. H. Rothaker”

The mysterious apotheosis of the newspaper editor

It’s a bad sign when a company decides that to sell its products it needs to bundle them together with miscellaneous, unrelated goods. It suggests that relations have grown strained between product and customer, that either the product is obsolete or the competition is fierce. But in the short run a bribe can work wonders. I know many holders of American Express cards, for example, who agree to use them instead of their much cheaper Visa cards only because American Express tosses frequent flier miles into the bargain.Read more »

Cigarette Century

In the past seventy years, while several major diseases have been eradicated, one has risen from obscurity to take its place among the nation’s leading killers

The patient at Barnes Hospital in St. Louis, in 1919, might have wondered during his last days why all the physicians were so peculiarly interested in his case. When the man died, Dr. George Dock, chairman of the department of medicine, asked all third-and fourth-year medical students at the teaching hospital to observe the autopsy. The patient’s disease had been so rare, he said, that most of them would never see it again. The disease was lung cancer. Read more »

Match Safes

Once you’ve discovered fire, you have to keep it from burning you. This is how it was managed before the safety match.

  Read more »

Thank You For Not Smoking


It was like any other Tuesday lunch hour, until the sheriff’s deputies walked in. Mr. Ernest Bamberger, general manager of the Keystone Mining Company and recent (unsuccessful) Republican candidate for United States senator, and Mr. John C. Lynch, manager of the Salt Lake Ice Company, finished their meals at the Vienna Café, an unpretentious but respectable businessmen’s restaurant on Salt Lake City’s Main Street, and prepared to savor their customary post-luncheon cigars. A few tables away, near the back of the crowded establishment, Mr. Edgar L.Read more »