January 2014 marks the 50th anniversary of the first Surgeon General's Report on Smoking and Health. Although we now know that tobacco use causes a host of cancers and other illnesses and is still the leading preventable cause of death in the United States, the 1964 landmark report was the first to definitively link smoking with lung cancer and heart disease – forever changing Americans’ understanding of the deadly consequences of smoking.

In the 50 years since the release of the report, 30 additional Surgeon General's Reports have enhanced our knowledge and understanding of the devastating health and financial burdens caused by tobacco use, while an even wider body of research continues to track the devastating toll of tobacco use, and its consequences.

As we observe the 50th anniversary of the landmark 1964 Surgeon General’s Report on Smoking and Health, we have much to celebrate, but also much more work to be done. Since 1964, smoking prevalence among U.S. adults has been reduced by half. But tobacco use still remains the leading preventable cause of disease, disability, and death in the United States, killing more than 440,000 Americans every year and taking a huge toll on our economy.

At Legacy, we resolve to finish the work begun by Dr. Luther Terry and so many others in 1964. Through our daily mission of keeping young people from smoking and helping all smokers quit, Legacy resolves to work toward Generation Free– the first smoke-free population in history.

Help us promote the 50th anniversary of the first Surgeon General's Report on Smoking and Health by downloading and sharing these resources on your Web site and social media. Look for updates throughout 2014 as we mark the 50 year anniversary.

  50th Anniversary of the Surgeon General's Report on Smoking and Health 

Upcoming Events

Warner Series Event on March 31, 2014: Up in Smoke? The Beginning of the End of Combustible Tobacco Products
Legacy will host the first in a series of thought leader panel discussions that delve deeper into findings from the 2014 U.S. Surgeon General’s Report on the health consequences of smoking, including how to innovatively and more rapidly end the premature deaths caused by cigarette smoking. This Warner Series panel discussion will consider ways to speed the end of combustible cigarettes, and the role that alternative products such as e-cigarettes could play in ending cigarette smoking that prematurely kills more than 480,000 people each year. Visit the Warner Series page to learn more.


Press Releases


Related Content


An Interview with Michael D. Terry, Son of Former U.S. Surgeon General Luther L. Terry.


A podcast with Dr. David Abrams and Dr. Steven Schroeder. Dr. David Abrams is the Executive Director of the Schroeder Institute at Legacy, and Dr. Steven Schroeder is the Director of the Smoking Cessation Leadership Center at the University of California, San Francisco. The Schroeder Institute at Legacy is named in honor of Dr. Steven Schroeder.

"An in-depth talk with Dr. David Abrams and Dr. Steven Schroeder"



SG Books Image
SG Lungs Image

In the News

  • NPR - 50 Years After Surgeon General’s Warning, Smokers Still Light Up - 1/11/2014
  • USA Today - U.S. Smoking Warning Made History, Saved Lives - 1/8/2014
  • Huffington Post - 50 Years Since Warning, Tobacco Remains Our Nation's Mt. Everest - 1/6/2014
  • AP - Historic Report Marks 50th Anniversary - 1/4/2014


Ways to Get Involved

Check out these ideas from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on how to spread the word about this historic anniversary.

Twibbon Campaign  

twibbon image

A Twibbonis a small image that you can overlay onto your Twitter or Facebook profile picture in order to support a campaign or a cause. You can show your support for the 50th Anniversary of the Surgeon General’s Report by customizing your social media profile picture with the official SGR50 Twibbon.

The Twibbon reflects the anniversary branding and provides customized content for easy posting on your Twitter and Facebook accounts. 

Please use the Twibbon and post a tweet or Facebook post with the #SGR50 hashtag to encourage your social media community to do the same.   


Photo Sharing Initiative

The CDC invites all partners to help spread the word and show support by participating in a photo sharing initiative through social media platforms. Here’s how you and your organization can participate.

  • Using the following format (varies for organizations and individuals),create a sign using your own language to finish the following statements or you may select the complete message in option 3: 
    • We’re working to make the next generation tobacco-free (for, to, because) _____________.
    • I’m working towards a tobacco-free future (for, to, because) __________.
    • Together We Can Make the Next Generation Tobacco Free.
  • Take individual or group photos within your organization holding the sign and upload the photo to your social media platform(s).
  • Using the #SGR50 hashtag, post the photo on your desired social media platform(s).
    • Include in your post a message of your choice.  As a suggestion, here’s a sample post: Honoring 50 years of progress in smoking and health: [link to uploaded photo]. #SGR50. Please be sure to add the official #SGR50 hashtag to ensure your photo is visible. 
  • Spread the word by asking your online community to retweet your photos and invite them to participate in the photo sharing initiative.