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.