Early Warnings: Historical Publications

The Unfiltered Truth About Smoking and Health

The dangers of tobacco have long been described in the medical literature. The earliest medical lecture in the United States on the hazards of smoking is believed to have been given by Benjamin Waterhouse, MD (also known as the American Jenner for having promoted smallpox vaccination in the U.S.) to the graduating class at Harvard Medical School on November 20, 1804. Other physicians, especially in New England, wrote about the adverse health consequences of smoking throughout the 19th century. A commentary in The Lancet in 1859 not only discussed the harmfulness of smoking, but also its economic and social toll. In 1929, a German medical journal article about tobacco as a cause of cancer included a bibliography with 167 references.

1805 Dr Waterhouses Lecture on Tobaccos Evil Tendencies wm

Doctor Waterhouse’s Lecture on the Evil Tendency of Tobacco and the Pernicious Effects of Ardent and Vinous Spirits on Young Persons

Booklet, front cover and title page
Benjamin Waterhouse, MD
Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press

1832 Dissertation on Injurious Effects of Tobacco Front Cover

A Dissertation on the Medical Properties and Injurious Effects of the Habitual Use of Tobacco 

Booklet, front cover
A. McAllister, MD
Boston, MA: Peirce & Parker

1836 Essay on Tobaccos Influence on Life Health Front Cover

An Essay on the Influence of Tobacco Upon Life and Health 

Booklet, front cover
R. D. Mussey, MD
Boston, MA: Perkins & Marvin

1842 Tobacco Morally Physically Considered

Tobacco Morally & Physically Considered in Relation to Smoking & Snuff-Taking 

Booklet, title page
J. Browne
Driffield, UK: B. Fawcett

1859 08 01 London Lancet Evil of Smoking Tobacco

“Evil of Smoking Tobacco and Its National Cost”

Commentary on the adverse health effects of smoking, as well as its economic and social toll
London Lancet, vol. 2, no. 2, page 161
August 1, 1859

1868 Evils of Tobacco Front Cover

The Use of Tobacco and The Evils, Physical, Mental, Moral, and Social, Resulting Therefrom

Booklet, front cover
John H. Griscom, MD
New York, NY: G. P. Putnam & Son

“Zeitschrift für Krebsforschung, Berlin”
(Journal of Cancer Research)

Review of German medical journal article on tobacco as a cause of cancer
Journal of the American Medical Association, vol. 94, no. 13, page 1028
March 29, 1930

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