Doctors Ought to Care

The most despicable tobacco-sponsored sport was the Virginia Slims Women’s Tennis Circuit, which existed from 1970 to 1995. Through this promotion, Philip Morris could circumvent the ban on TV cigarette advertising, which would go into effect on January 1, 1971. The fledgling anti-smoking movement—then focused on banning smoking in public places—was slow to react and did not begin firing back until 1978 when 35 physicians and medical students, members of the University of Miami School of Medicine chapter of DOC (Doctors Ought to Care), made the first “house call” on the Virginia Slims Tennis Tournament in Hollywood, Florida. They renamed it the Emphysema Slims and carried signs such as “Good to the last breath,” “A recessed filter and a barrel chest,” “Slim chance,” and “Yes, Virginia, there is a lung cancer.”