Surgeon General Stamp Campaign

To observe the 1980 World Health Day theme of “Smoking or Health—The Choice is Yours,” 24 countries issued an anti-tobacco postage stamp. Forty-one other countries have since introduced such stamps, but the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom are not among them.

In 1986, James Lutschg, MD, a pulmonary disease physician in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, wrote to the U.S. Postal Service to propose that an anti-smoking stamp be issued in 1989 to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the release of the Surgeon General’s Report on Smoking and Health. When Dr. Lutschg was informed that stamps commemorating historic events are only issued at 50-year anniversaries, he began laying the groundwork for a campaign to have such a stamp issued in 2014. 

In 2010 the House of Delegates of the American Medical Association passed a resolution introduced by Dr. W. Jeff Terry, president-elect of the Medical Association of the State of Alabama and a cousin of Dr. Luther Terry, calling on physicians to campaign for such a stamp.

The US Postal Service’s Citizens Stamp Advisory Committee (CSAC), created in 1957, reviews and selects stamps that commemorate individuals, history, culture, sports, and science and technology. The CASC has not issued a stamp commemorating Dr. Terry and the Surgeon General’s Report. Meanwhile, lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths, and it is almost entirely caused by cigarette smoking—and almost entirely preventable by not taking up cigarette smoking.

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“I want to suggest for your consideration commemorating a health care problem”

Letter to Howard Paine, member of the Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee, from James H. Lutschg, MD, advocating for the Committee to recommend the issuance of a stamp commemorating the 25th anniversary of the 1964 Surgeon General’s Report on Smoking and Health
August 14, 1986

“The 1989 and 1990 stamp programs have already been finalized”

Letter to James H. Lutschg, MD, from Dickey B. Rustin, manager of the U.S. Postal Service Stamp Information Branch, explaining that Lutschg’s request for a stamp commemorating the 25th anniversary of the 1964 Surgeon General’s Report on Smoking and Health arrived too late for the Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee to consider and that such commemorative stamps were only considered at 50-year anniversary intervals
October 12, 1988

Alan Blum, MD, and James Lutschg, MD

Photograph
May 19, 2009

“Issuing a Postage Stamp to Commemorate the First Surgeon General’s Report on Smoking and Health (1964)”

Resolution submitted by William Jeff Terry, MD, president of the Medical Association of the State of Alabama and cousin of U.S. Surgeon General Luther L. Terry; Alan Blum, MD; and Ronald M. Davis, MD, to the Medical Association of the State of Alabama advocating for the Association to urge the Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee to issue a stamp commemorating the 50th anniversary of the 1964 Surgeon General’s Report on Smoking and Health
Circa 2010

“It’s Time for Recognition”

Letter to the editor by Alan Blum, MD, advocating for physicians to urge the U.S. Postal Service to issue a stamp commemorating the 50th anniversary of the 1964 Surgeon General’s Report on Smoking and Health
Family Practice News, vol. 40, no. 2, page 8
February 1, 2010

“Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee”

Information about the committee and the stamp selection process originally posted on the U.S. Postal Service website
February 14, 2010

“U.S. Needs an Antitobacco Stamp”

Letter to the editor by W. Jeff Terry, MD, advocating for physicians to urge the U.S. Postal Service to issue a stamp commemorating the 50th anniversary of the 1964 Surgeon General’s Report on Smoking and Health
Family Practice News, vol. 40, no. 5, page 9
March 15, 2010

“Proposal to Issue a Postage Stamp in 2014 to Commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the 1964 First Surgeon General’s Report on Smoking and Health”

Letter to the Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee from J. James Rohack, MD, president of the American Medical Association, advocating for the Committee to issue a commemorative stamp
April 5, 2010

“I am pleased to inform you this proposal will be submitted for review and consideration before the Committee.”

Letter to J. James Rohack, MD, from Terrence W. McCaffrey, manager of the U.S. Postal Service Stamp Development Branch, regarding the acceptance by the Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee of the proposal for a stamp commemorating the 50th anniversary of the 1964 Surgeon General’s Report on Smoking and Health
May 11, 2010

“I write in support of the efforts led by Dr. James Lutschg of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, to commission an official anti-smoking U.S. postage stamp.”

Letter to Jean Picker Firstenberg, chairwoman of the Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee, from William Morgan Cassidy, member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Louisiana’s 6th district, advocating for the Committee to issue a stamp commemorating the 50th anniversary of the 1964 Surgeon General’s Report on Smoking and Health
June 8, 2010

“I am extremely disappointed that we cannot seem to influence the stamp committee to issue such an important stamp…”

Correspondence related to the Citizen’s Stamp Advisory Committee’s decision not to issue a stamp commemorating the 50th anniversary of the 1964 Surgeon General’s Report on Smoking and Health; emails by Donald W. Zeigler, PhD, director of Prevention and Healthy Lifestyles at the American Medical Association; William Jeff Terry, MD, cousin of U.S. Surgeon General Luther L. Terry; and Roger Brown, PhD, Director of the Office of House of Delegates Affairs at the American Medical Association
July 9 – September 2, 2010

“Let’s tackle tobacco’s harm with force”

Op-ed by Alan Blum, MD, advocating for the United States to issue a stamp commemorating the 1964 Surgeon General’s Report on Smoking and Health
The Birmingham News, pages 1F and 4F
July 18, 2010

“USA: AMA Backs Commemorative Stamp”

News analysis of the ongoing campaign to issue a stamp commemorating the 1964 Surgeon General’s Report on Smoking and Health, which included the showing of the original traveling exhibit, “Anti-Smoking Postage Stamps from Around the World”
Tobacco Control, vol. 19, no. 5, page 354
October 2010

“Commemorating the Fiftieth Anniversary of a Medical Landmark”

Article by Alan Blum, MD, about the ongoing campaign to issue a stamp commemorating the 1964 Surgeon General’s Report on Smoking and Health, which included the showing of the original traveling exhibit, “Anti-Smoking Postage Stamps from Around the World”
The Pharos of Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society, vol. 73, no. 4, page 48
Autumn 2010

“Roswell Park Urges the U.S. Postal Service to Issue a Commemorative Anti-Tobacco Stamp”

Press release by Deborah Pettibone, Media Specialist for the Roswell Park Cancer Institute, announcing the showing of the original traveling “International Tobacco Control Stamp Exhibit” at the Institute
November 1, 2010

“Visit the International Tobacco Control Stamp Exhibit”

Flyer announcing the showing of the original traveling “International Tobacco Control Stamp Exhibit” at the Roswell Park Cancer Institute
November 2010

“An exhibit showcasing a collection of the world’s anti-smoking stamps will be on display…”

Press release by the Health Sciences Library at the State University of New York at Buffalo announcing the showing of the original traveling exhibit, “Anti-Smoking Postage Stamps from Around the World”
December 2010

“In answer to your question, the United Nations Postal Administration has never issued such a stamp.”

Letter from David E. Failor, chief of the United Nations Postal Administration, to James H. Lutschg, MD, answering the latter’s inquiry regarding whether the Administration ever issued an anti-smoking postage stamp
June 21, 2011

“To Request a Commemorative Anti-Tobacco Stamp Please Complete This Postcard”

Postcard distributed to people who visited the traveling exhibit, “Anti-Smoking Postage Stamps from Around the World,” to promote the campaign for a commemorative postage stamp in honor of the 50th anniversary of the 1964 Surgeon General’s Report on Smoking and Health
Circa 2010

“Please join us in supporting this campaign.”

Informational flyer about the background behind the creation of the traveling “International Tobacco Control Stamp Exhibit,” intended to promote the campaign for a commemorative postage stamp in honor of the 50th anniversary of the 1964 Surgeon General’s Report on Smoking and Health
Circa 2011

“Fighting Smoke with Fire.”

Program for an exhibition for the 50th anniversary of the 1964 Surgeon General’s Report on Smoking and Health
November 11, 2014

“I have been involved for a number of years trying to get an anti-smoking US postage stamp issued.”

Letter from James H. Lutschg, MD, to David E. Failor, chief of the United Nations Postal Administration, inquiring whether the Administration ever issued an anti-smoking postage stamp
May 29, 2011

Stanford T. Shulman, MD

Virginia H. Rogers Professor of Pediatric Infectious Diseases
Northwestern – Feinberg School of Medicine Chicago, Illinois
Prominent Medical Stamp Collector

Alan Blum, MD interviews medical stamp collector Stanford. T. Shulman, MD


The Effect of Stamps on Society (4:00)


Why Hasn’t the U.S. Recognized the Surgeon General’s Report with a Stamp? (2:51)


The Future of Stamps (2:29)

Crusade Against Cancer

United States Postal Service Stamp
1965

(No U.S. Postage Stamp has been issued against the leading cause of cancer deaths, smoking.)

“For a US Postage Stamp to Commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the Surgeon General’s Report on Smoking and Health” (5:32)

Featuring all of the world’s anti-smoking postage stamps in alphabetical order by nation,
Samuel Blum, MA
2010

“It would be wonderful if the stamp advisory committee were to select an anti-tobacco theme for a stamp”

Letter from Alan Blum, MD, to David E. Failor, chief of the United Nations Postal Administration, advocating for the Administration to issue an anti-smoking postage stamp
September 12, 2011

“Your letter, along with Dr. Lutschg proposal, will be discussed with our stamp selection committee at an upcoming meeting.”

Letter from David E. Failor, chief of the United Nations Postal Administration, to Alan Blum, MD, assuring the latter that the Administration would consider the proposal by James H. Lutschg, MD, to issue an anti-smoking postage stamp
October 3, 2011

“We are hopeful the committee will consider a commemorative stamp…”

Letter to the Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee from Julia Purpera, coordinator of the Luther Terry Commemorative Stamp committee, requesting an update on the status of the request for a stamp commemorating the 25th anniversary of the 1964 Surgeon General’s Report on Smoking and Health
December 19, 2011

“Leave Your Stamp on Tobacco”

Promotional Flyer for the Surgeon General Postage Stamp Campaign
2010

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