President Kennedy Asked About Health Risks of Cigarette Smoking

May 23, 1962 - President Kennedy promised reporters today to give them an answer next week on the Government’s attitude toward studies linking cigarette smoking with cancer and heart disease. A reporter asked him whether he and his medical advisors agreed or disagreed with the findings of the studies and what, if anything, “should or can the Federal Government do in these circumstances.” The President referred to the recent decline in the price of tobacco company stock by saying the “stock market is in sufficient difficulty” without his responding without complete information. Dr. Nicholas D’Esopo, chief of the Pulmonary Disease Service of the Veterans Administration Hospital of West Haven, Conn., said today that the evidence linking cigarette smoking to cancer and heart disease is so strong that it must be accepted. Dr. D’Esopo made the remark at a public health session of the annual meeting of the National Tuberculosis Association. In London today, the Ministry of Health began distributing posters warning against cigarette smoking.

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