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NYC Health Commissioner Urges Doctors to Persuade Patients to Quit Cigarettes

June 7, 1963 - Dr. George James, New York City’s Commissioner of Health, urged a graduating class of physicians today to try to persuade their patients to stop smoking cigarettes. The Commissioner addressed 144 physicians from 30 countries who had completed one or two years of additional study at the New York Polyclinic Medical School and Hospital. Stressing the value of preventive medicine, Dr. James contended that the lives of 12 out of 15 lung cancer patients could be saved by a timely warning from their doctors to quit smoking. Currently, he said, only 1 of 15 lung cancer patients is saved. Representative Leonard Farbstein, Democrat of Manhattan, another speaker, noted the Commissioner’s remark and observed: “I look around, and I see half a dozen or more cigarettes still being smoked, as if nothing had been said.” Smokers in the audience snuffed out their cigarettes, but many resumed smoking after Mr. Farbstein had finished speaking.


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