Beginning in 1893 in the state of Washington and ending in 1927 in Kansas, the so-called state cigarette prohibtion laws were enacted and repealed in 14 states and one territory. At the turn to the 20th century, cigarettes accounted for only one percent of all tobacco products including plugs, cigars, pipe tobacco, and snuff. Despite this fact, "the Early Anti-Tobacco Movement" exclusively targeted cigarettes, mainly because women preferred them to other forms of tobacco. Under "the Victorian morality" in the latter half of the 19th century, women were expected to stay at home and become respected "Republican mothers," bringing up their children nicely. They, therefore, were expected and sometimes forced to be pious and moralistic, refraining from smoking as well as drinking, especially in the presence of other people. It was actually a gender-cultural battle.
But "the modern tobacco war," beginning in the middle of the 20th century and still going on in the 21st century, has been a battle for public health between anti-tobacco advocates including government agencies and tobacco companies with their political allies. The fact that the results of many scientific and medical studies on the relation between cigarette smoking and certain diseases, especially lung cancer, had been published around 1950 in many popular magazines and newspapers as well as specialist magazines and journals was a background of "the modern tobacco war."
This war actually broke out on January 11, 1964 when Luther Terry, the then U. S. Surgeon General, made public a 378-page report written by his advisory committee; the report "officially" admitted that cigarette smoking "is a health hazard of sufficient importance in the United States to warrant appropriate remedial action." The term, "appropriate remedial action" implicitly urged federal government agencies in general and the Federal Trade Commission in particular to take action to reduce cigarette sales and smoking. The agency soon advocated the necessity of health warning labels against smoking to be attached to both packages and printed advertisements.
The other party of the war, cigarette companies, reacted gravely to the severe situation early in the 1950s, even though the amount of cigarette production had never declined in its relatively short history. The presidents of all the major tobacco companies, except for Liggett & Myers, met secretly at the Plaza Hotel in New York City in the middle of December, 1953, and they, formerly rivals with each other, agreed for the first time to take joint action against difficulties surrounding their industry. On January 4, 1954 the cigarette industry with advice from Hill and Knowlton, a big public relations firm, inserted "A Frank Statement to Cigarette Smokers" in more than 400 newspapers throughout the country, in which the industry announced to set up the Tobacco Industry Reseach Committee (TIRC) to contribute to promote medical and scientific reseach "to protect smokers' health." And the industry also circumvented the FTC's initiative by enacting "successfully" the Federal Cigarette Labeling and Advertising Act of 1965, an achievement of strenuous efforts by tobacco lobbyists with Earle Clements as a leader.
In this paper I would like to examine the process of enacting the Act of 1965, focusing on the tactics of both sides of the war. The significance of the Act for both sides of the war will be also discussed.