AMA Finally Condemns the Tobacco Industry

The Unfiltered Truth About Smoking and Health

The AMA is one of many collaborators of the tobacco industry during the past several decades. But the association’s 14-year silence about the problems associated with tobacco use is matched by no other and represents arguably the most unholy alliance.

In recent years, the American Medical Association has received favorable publicity for its growing role in the public health effort to counteract tobacco use in the United States.

Approximately 150 resolutions on tobacco issues have been passed by the AMA’s House of Delegates on tobacco issues, including support for protection from secondhand smoke to calling for a complete ban on tobacco advertising.

That America’s leading medical organization would take a stand against the leading preventable cause of death and disease as part of its mission to promote “the betterment of public health” should be a given. But the AMA’s involvement in anti-smoking efforts arguably evolved not from a genuine concern for public health but rather from public embarrassment.

“Doctors, let’s stop dragging (our feet)” (2 pages)

Journal article by William A. Check urging physicians to take a supportive, positive approach when discussing smoking cessation with patients
Journal of the American Medical Association, vol. 242, no. 26, pages 2831-32
December 28, 1979

First-ever theme issue on tobacco published by an American medical journal; New York State Journal of Medicine, vol. 83, no. 13; December 1983

“The World Cigarette Pandemic”

Cover of the first-ever theme issue on tobacco published by an American medical journal, featuring an advertisement by Liggett & Myers Tobacco Company for Chesterfield cigarettes in the March 1937 issue of the women’s magazine Better Homes & Gardens
New York State Journal of Medicine
December 1983

“The World Cigarette Pandemic, Part II”

Cover of the second theme issue on tobacco, featuring the second page of a 2-page advertisement by the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company for Camel cigarettes in the November 14, 1931 issue of Collier’s Magazine
New York State Journal of Medicine
July 1985

“When ‘More doctors smoked Camels’: Cigarette advertising in the Journal” (6 pages)

Journal article by Alan Blum, MD, about the history of cigarette advertisements that appeared in the New York State Journal of Medicine from 1933 to 1953
New York State Journal of Medicine, vol. 83, no. 13, pages 1347-52
December 1983

“The AMA tackles smoking” (3 pages)

Journal article by Alan Blum, MD, reviewing the actions of the AMA on smoking from 1953 to 1983
New York State Journal of Medicine, vol. 83, no. 13, pages 1363-65
December 1983

“Communities start own campaigns against tobacco ads”

News article by Paul R. McGinn about how communities and physicians within those communities planned to take legislative action to restrict cigarette advertising and the opposing response by the tobacco industry
American Medical News, pages 3 and 49-50
March 16, 1990

“This week’s JAMA is a theme issue on tobacco and smoking.” (12 pages)

AMA news release about the contents of the Journal of the American Medical Association, vol. 264, no. 12
September 26, 1990

1990-06-14 - Medical Tribune - “Physicians join tobacco issue”

“Physicians join tobacco issue” (2 pages)

News article by Peggy Peck about the decision by officials from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services not to testify before the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Health and the Environment on the subject of tobacco exports
Medical Tribune, vol. 31, no. 12, pages 1 and 16
June 14, 1990

“AMA charges tobacco firms ‘duped’ public”

Front page news story by Barbara Sullivan
Austin American-Statesman
July 14, 1995

“AMA: Public ‘duped’ by tobacco firms”

News article by Doug Levy
USA Today, page 1D
July 14, 1995

“Plan to move smoking agency worries tobacco foes”

“MD went after smoking with double-edged sword”

News article by Paul R. McGinn about opposition by AMA members to a plan to move the Office on Smoking and Health (OSH) from Washington, DC, to Atlanta, Georgia, location of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC); the concern was that the effectiveness of the OSH would become lost in the gigantic CDC bureaucracy, thereby slowing the momentum of efforts to curb smoking and the tobacco industry.

News article about Ronald Davis, MD, outgoing director of the Office on Smoking and Health of the Centers for Disease Control
American Medical News, page 9
April 22/29, 1991

“Protest of tobacco firm’s exhibit grows”

News article about how physicians both joined, organized, and led protests against a 200th anniversary tour of a copy of the U.S. Bill of Rights, sponsored by cigarette company Philip Morris
American Medical News, page 46
April 22/29, 1991

“AMA rewrites tobacco history”

Commentary by Alan Blum, MD, and Howard Wolinsky
The Lancet, vol. 346, no. 8970, page 261
July 29, 1995

“AMA Evolving into Leader on Anti-Tobacco Fight” (2 pages)

News article by Lauran Neergaard
Associated Press
August 7, 1995

“[T]he American Medical Association has turned against [the tobacco industry]…”

Transcript of commentary by Charles Osgood on “The Osgood File”
CBS Radio Network
August 8, 1995

“AMA & ABA strip off old ways”

Editorial about how the American Medical Association altered its position from ally of the tobacco industry to foe
Fort Worth Star-Telegram
August 13, 1995

“Cigarette Maker Concedes Smoking Can Cause Cancer” (2 pages)

News article by John M. Broder
The New York Times, page A1 and A12
March 21, 1997

“The Conspiracy Theory and Tobacco Litigation” (34 pages)

Original article by Eric Solberg, MS about the relationship between the AMA and the tobacco industry
March 1997

“Gone in a puff of smoke…?”

News article by Thom Marshall about the original “Unfiltered Truth” exhibit, shown in the Jesse H. Jones Library at Baylor University
Houston Chronicle, page 37A
April 18, 1997

“AMA spent decades aiding tobacco firms, local doctor claims”

News article by John Makeig
Houston Chronicle, page 36A
June 12, 1997

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