“Reports linking the death rate from cancer with cigarette smoking were ridiculed this week by Donald C. Cooley, author of ‘Smoke Without Fear,’ a 32-page booklet published by True Magazine.
“Cooley, managing editor of Your Health and Your Life magazines, has one piece of advice to persons who enjoy smoking and who have been unsuccessful in their attempts to give up the habit — quit trying.
“Cooley pointed out that consumption of cigarettes in the United States has increased 456 percent since 1920, and lung cancer deaths in men have increased 411 per cent since 1930.
“A graph, he adds, would show cigarette smoking and lung cancer deaths shooting up at the same frightening rate.
” ‘However,’ Cooley said, ‘you can make a similar chart showing that the cost of living has increased in about the same proportion as has male lung cancer. A debater might argue that four times as many men now have cancer because coffee now costs $1.20 a pound, as against 30 cents in 1930.’
“By the same token, he pointed out, life expectancy has risen with the increased use of cigarettes.”
— From Billboard magazine, September 18, 1954
Donald C. Cooley is actually Donald G. Cooley, otherwise best known as author of “The New Way to Eat and Get Slim” (1941) and founding editor of the magazine that would become Mechanix Illustrated.
tobacco.org reprints Cooley’s sophistic booklet , which was the brainchild of Hill & Knowlton, the industry’s PR factory.
“As representatives of 71,000 North Carolina tobacco growers met last week in Raleigh’s Sir Walter Hotel, they filled the air with their troubles as well as tobacco smoke.
“Some tobaccomen thought the blame for the slowdown [in cigarette consumption] should be put on the cigarette companies, and especially the new filter cigarette publicity. Cried Grower-Warehouseman Fred S. Royster, president of the Bright Belt Warehouse Association: ‘The public is being frightened from tobacco by outlandish medical claims by some of the manufacturers. Much of this advertising is plain silly.’
“Added Market Specialist Phil Hedrick of the North Carolina agriculture department: ‘It’s defensive advertising that’s doing it. A medical authority says, for instance, that there is a high incidence of lung cancer among heavy smokers, and immediately the tobacco companies rush to the defense. Instead of saying that cigarettes relax you, comfort you and soothe the nerves, they deny that their brand will give you a disease . . . ‘
“Editorialized the Raleigh News & Observer: ‘It still seems a little odd that those who most emphasize the possible bad effects of cigarettes on people are the cigarette manufacturers themselves.’ ”
— From Time magazine, Nov. 9, 1953
“At the Asheville, N.C., City College last fortnight Dean Henry Dexter Learned gave students, including girls, permission to smoke in the college building between classes. An outraged Board of Education planned to oust Dr. Learned…. The Dean calmly explained: ‘If nobody smoked cigarets what would happen to the public school system of North Carolina? This is the biggest cigaret producing state in the Union.’
“The pedagogs did not heed this economic plea [and] voted to dismiss the Dean….”
— From Time magazine, Aug. 12, 1929