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It is just ten years since David Hamburg and I convened a group at Harvard to think about setting up an institute concerned with smoking. John Pinney and several others here today participated in the group. The response was positive; we did set up an Institute. I remembered that conference this morning as I selected the tie I would wear today; at the end of the conference Julius Richmond, former US Surgeon General, presented David with the blue version, and me with the red, of the No-Smoking tie. From the audience it may look like any small pattern, but up close you would see that the pattern is the universal no-smoking logo.
What I like about today’s conference is that we are all here because we sympathise with people who smoke. They are not the enemy; we are not trying to harass them, we are trying to help. That attitude has become uncommon at conferences on smoking; for many it is hard to be anti-smoking without being anti-smoker. We know it is hard to stop smoking, and we are here because we’d like to make it easier if we can.
This conference may also be unusual because it occurs at a time when we may actually have a White House that will, for the first time, be willing to take a stand against the most dangerous drug of all, nicotine. We had the Califano experience, with little help from the White …