On This Day, June 21,1954 – American Cancer Society Cites Higher Smoker Death Rates

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1954 – The American Cancer Society reported significantly higher death rates among cigarette smokers than among non-smokers To address the criticism of the retrospective studies – and to strengthen the evidence that smoking is a cause of lung cancer – E. Cuyler Hammond, Ph.D., and Daniel Horn, Ph.D., scientists working for the American Cancer Society, started work on what is known as a cohort study.

Hammond and Horn noted that the higher death rate in smokers was due primarily to heart disease and cancer. “Deaths from cancer were definitely associated with regular cigarette smoking.” They called out lung cancer in particular: “The death rate from lung cancer was much higher among men with a history of regular cigarette smoking than among men who never smoked regularly.”

Hammond and Horn were so convinced by these findings that they had presented them a couple of months earlier, in June of 1954, at the American Medical Association’s annual conference. Previously heavy cigarette smokers, Hammond and Horn changed to pipes by the time of the meeting (although they later concluded that pipe smoking was also cancer causing).


1788 – The U.S. Constitution went into effect when New Hampshire became the ninth state to ratify it.

1834 – Cyrus McCormick patented the first practical mechanical reaper for farming. His invention allowed farmers to more than double their crop size.

1893 – The Ferris Wheel was introduced at the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago, IL.

1913 – Georgia Broadwick became the first woman to jump from an airplane.

1939 – Lou Gehrig quit baseball due to illness.

1945 – Pan Am announced an 88-hour round-the-world flight at a cost of $700.

1958 – In Arkansas, a federal judge let Little Rock delay school integration.

1963 – In St. Louis, Bob Hayes set a record when he ran the 100-yard dash in 0:09.1.

1963 – France announced that they were withdrawing from the North Atlantic NATO fleet.

1973 – The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that states may ban materials found to be obscene according to local standards.

1974 – The U.S. Supreme Court decided that pregnant teachers could no longer be forced to take long leaves of absence.

1985 – Scientists announced that skeletal remains exhumed in Brazil were those of Nazi war criminal Josef Mengele.

1989 – The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that burning the American flag as a form of political protest was protected by the First Amendment.

2003 – The fifth Harry Potter book, “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix,” was published by J.K. Rowling. Amazon.com shipped out more than one million copies on this day making the day the largest distribution day of a single item in e-commerce history. The book set sales records around the world with an estimated 5 million copies were sold on the first day.

2004SpaceShipOne, designed by Burt Rutan and piloted by Mike Melvill, reached 328,491 feet above Earth in a 90 minute flight. The height is about 400 feet above the distance scientists consider to be the boundary of space.

Source: On-This-Day.com; Cancer.org