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VIDEO: Smoking and health 50 years on from landmark report 

Jump to full article: BBC Online, 2012-03-06
Author: Dominic Hughes


50 years ago on Tuesday, a key report was published that marked the beginning of a change in our relationship with smoking.

Although there had been previous warnings linking smoking and lung cancer, it was the 1962 study by the Royal College of Physicians, Smoking and Health, that really broke through to the public and politicians.

Attitudes in the intervening 50 years have changed enormously.

But in 1962, very few people took the dangers posed by smoking cigarettes seriously.

That view is captured perfectly by some footage from the BBC archive, a report on the Tonight programme into the RCP study. . . .

The 1962 RCP report was launched in a blaze of publicity, using what was then a new technique - the press conference.

But the report's authors needed to be innovative to get their message across to a public - and politicians - who probably didn't want to hear it.

After all, most of them were smokers

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