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Anniversaries and action
  1. Mike Daube
  1. Health Sciences, Curtin University, Bentley, WA 6102, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Emeritus Professor Mike Daube, Health Sciences, Curtin University, Bentley, WA 6102, Australia; m.daube{at}

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2020 marks three important anniversaries for tobacco control.

On May 27, 1950, JAMA published a paper by Ernst Wynder and Evarts Graham entitled “Tobacco smoking as a possible etiologic factor in bronchiogenic carcinoma – a Study of Six Hundred and Eighty-Four Proved Cases”.1

On September 30, 1950, the British Medical Journal published a paper by Richard Doll and Austin Bradford Hill entitled “Smoking and carcinoma of the lung”.2

On May 19, 1970 the World Health Assembly passed a resolution recognising the magnitude and preventability of the problem.3

While the earlier work of Muller and others should not be discounted,4 1950 marks seventy years since incontrovertible evidence that smoking kills, and fifty years since WHO’s first strong call for action.

A recent WHO report on tobacco trends shows that the glass is half full. “For the first time…the number of people using tobacco in the world is declining, despite population growth”.5 There has been much further progress by way of action to reduce smoking including legislation, taxation, public education, smoke-free measures and cessation support. Many developed countries are seeing encouraging trends for both smoking and its consequences.6 7 In Australia, with a population of only 25 million, if present trends continue, nearly 2 million tobacco deaths will be averted from lung cancer alone between 2016 and …

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