Skip to Content


Up in smoke

Anniversary of surgeon general’s report highlights anti-tobacco efforts

Promise -

Anniversary of surgeon general’s report highlights anti-tobacco efforts

 Former MD Anderson Presidents LeMaistre and Mendelsohn.

In 1964, the U.S. Surgeon General’s Report on Smoking and Health identified cigarettes as a major public health hazard, causally linking smoking to lung cancer. Charles LeMaistre, M.D., who became MD Anderson’s second full-time president in 1978 and served as American Cancer Society president in 1986, served on the advisory panel that issued the landmark report. It changed public attitudes and led to mandatory health warnings on tobacco products and the 1969 ban of smoking ads on TV and radio.

Over the past 50 years, MD Anderson has led efforts against lung cancer, including:

  • 2000: Established ASPIRE (A Smoking Prevention Interactive Experience), an evidence-based, multimedia tobacco prevention and cessation program for middle and high school students, with funds from the National Cancer Institute and the George and Barbara Bush Endowment for Innovative Cancer Research
  • 2008: Established the Duncan Family Institute for Cancer Prevention and Risk to study how to predict and reduce cancer risk
  • 2011: Launched the Lung Cancer Screening Program to screen heavy smokers for lung cancer
  • 2012: Launched the Moon Shots Program, initially focusing on dramatically reducing deaths from eight cancers, including lung cancer

Ongoing research at MD Anderson continues to help uncover information toward successful smoking and tobacco-cessation efforts, focusing on:

  • Investigating neurological links to determine what brain mechanisms trigger smoking
  • Examining genetic predispositions that make people more susceptible to smoking
  • Strengthening behavioral counseling methods
  • Increasing health care provider involvement in antismoking efforts
  • Targeting groups more susceptible to smoking

For more on the 50th anniversary of the Surgeon General’s Report on Smoking and Health and a full timeline of MD Anderson’s anti-smoking efforts, visit

© 2015 The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center