PH Communications & Advocacy
Cigarettes and tobacco were an integral part of army life since the First World War. The British trade journal Tobacco claimed “It might almost be said that a man in the firing line first thinks of his cartridges and the very next thing he sees to worry about is ammunition for this pipe. The pipe itself is only less previous than the rifle.” When soldiers were departing for war it was common to give cigarettes as a farewell gift. Organizations such as the YMCA and Red Cross Society raised funds to ensure that troops received steady supply of tobacco products especially cigarettes. It was a different time and cigarettes were a way to deal with the stress of the day and it was a shared activity between friends. This continued to be a running theme during World War II and it progressed to tobacco companies provided free cigarettes to soldiers. This trend of cigarette smoking did not seem to fade away and it was adopted by everyone including healthcare professionals up until the 1950s. The Journal of American Medical Association published that smoking is now linked to several kinds of cancer, including lung cancer, and other diseases. It took nearly 15 years for Congress to pass the Federal Cigarette Labeling and Advertising Act, which require all cigarette packages to display warning from the Surgeon General. The Surgeon’s General report turned the tide of smoking as it had the most positive impact compared to any other interventions or campaigns that came subsequently. It has influenced many policies in 1975 cigarettes were not included in the military rations and the smoking rate dropped down 32% from the 1980s according (Institute of Medicine (US) Committee on Smoking Cessation in Military and Veteran Populations, Bondurant, S., & Wedge, R., 2009.