50 Years of Progress: Smoking and Health

August 4, 2014



The time when it was acceptable for cigarette smoke to fill offices, movie theaters, and airplanes is long forgotten and now used to set historical scenes like on the television series Mad Men. Smoking on the CBS Evening News like Walter Cronkite did is considered taboo today.

However the dangers of smoking and long term effects on health began to reach the public conscience during that 1960s timeframe. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Surgeon General’s Report on Smoking and Health. Released in 1964 during a time when smoking was common place, the health community started recognizing trends in deaths caused by lung cancer and other diseases linked to tobacco use.

GPO has made the original, digitized version of the 1964 Surgeon General’s Report on Smoking and Health through the agency’s Federal Digital System (FDsys): http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/GPO-SMOKINGANDHEALTH/pdf/GPO-SMOKINGANDHEALTH.pdf

To coincide with the 50th anniversary of the report, the Department of Health and Human Services released The Health Consequences of Smoking: 50 Years of Progress and a companion summary booklet. The report is nearly 1,000 pages long, but the companion booklet at only 20 pages makes for an informative read. Designed with eye catching infographics, the booklet is a string of statistics and information on diseases related to smoking. There is a 50-year timeline across the bottom of the pages that shows the progress made on raising awareness on the harmful effects of smoking.

Some timeline highlights:

1964 – The Surgeon General’s Report on Smoking and Health is released and 42% of American adults smoke.
1966 – The United States is the first country to require warning labels on cigarettes.
1970 – Congress bans cigarette ads on TV and radio.
1975 – The Army and Navy stop providing cigarette rations to troops.
1986 – The Surgeon General releases a report dedicated the health effects of secondhand smoke.
1990 – Congress makes domestic airline flights smoke-free.
1994 – Tobacco company executives testify before Congress that they believe nicotine is not addictive.
2010 – Half of U.S. states and DC adopt smoke-free laws.
2014 – Fifty years after the release of the Smoking and Health Report, 18% of American adults smoke.

It is evident that life-saving progress has been made and various efforts to inform and educate the public on the harmful effects of smoking have worked. Nevertheless 500,000 people die each year from tobacco-related diseases so there is still work to be done.

no smoking


  • Shop Online Anytime: You can buy this and other publications with FREE Standard Shipping worldwide from the U.S. Government Online Bookstore website at http://bookstore.gpo.gov/
  • Buy Let\’s Make the Next Generation Tobacco-Free: Your Guide to the 50th Anniversary Surgeon General\’s Report on Smoking and Health http://bookstore.gpo.gov/products/sku/017-023-00228-7
  • Download the eBook version of The Health Consequences of Smoking—50 Years of Progress. A Report of the Surgeon General (Full Report) in ePub or Mobi (Kindle) formats for free http://bookstore.gpo.gov/products/sku/017-300-00010-5?ctid=!1
  • Download The Health Consequences of Smoking—50 Years of Progress. A Report of the Surgeon General Executive Summary in ePub or Mobi (Kindle) formats for free http://bookstore.gpo.gov/products/sku/017-300-00008-3?ctid=!1
  • Download The Health Consequences of Smoking—50 Years of Progress. A Report of the Surgeon General. Supplemental Evidence Tables in ePub or Mobi (Kindle) formats for free http://bookstore.gpo.gov/products/sku/017-300-00012-1?ctid=!1
  • Shop our Retail Store: Buy a copy of any print editions from this collection at GPO’s retail bookstore at 710 North Capitol Street NW, Washington, DC 20401, open Monday–Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., except Federal holidays, Call (202) 512-0132 for information or to arrange in-store pick-up.
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About the Author: Our guest blogger is Emma Wojtowicz, Public Relations Specialist in GPO’s Office of Public Affairs.

Talking Turkey: the American Thanksgiving and Turkey

November 27, 2013


The unique American holiday, Thanksgiving, brings everyone together—it’s no coincidence it’s the biggest travel day of the year in the United States. People gather for a number of reasons beyond thankfulness– reconnecting with family and friends, to watch and play football, to relax for a day and get ready for the Christmas holidays, and for a lot of people, to celebrate our lucky abundance by eating a feast.

 So many Americans refer to Thanksgiving as “Turkey Day”, since the turkey is traditionally the centerpiece of that big feast. Weeks before the holiday arrives, fliers for turkey sales are everywhere; recipes pop up in your email inbox; cooking shows run hour-long specials the turkey dinner with all the trimmings, and news outlets start talking about turkey shortages. There are so many decisions to make when choosing a turkey. Do you buy a frozen or fresh bird? Do you choose a heritage breed or factory-raised? Do you buy a breast or do you need a whole turkey? How many pounds to feed everyone? You need to get answers for all of those questions before you even get to the cooking. The cooking raises an even larger round of questions, and if you’re like me, a round of obsessive research. Cooking poultry requires smart handling. Not only do you want your bird to be delicious, you want it to be contamination- and germ-free.

In your quest to find answers to these questions, no doubt you’ll turn to family and friends. You may even dial a local extension service or talk to the source from which you bought the bird—the supermarket, the turkey company or the farmer.  The Federal government is another excellent source you shouldn’t forget. Your best friend may be busy driving to his mother’s house, but you can call the USDA’s Meat and Poultry Hotline all Thanksgiving morning, or link to Ask Karen on the Web.  Ask Karen is the Food Safety and Inspection Service’s (FSIS) Web chat page to answer all of your food safety questions at any time.

You should check their Common questions section first, which FSIS has conveniently organized by topic and product. So you can pick turkey from the products list, and choose all, and enter the word “smoking” to find information about how to smoke a turkey. If you click on the question,

“Do you need a thermometer when smoking meat?” you get the answer,

“Yes. To ensure meat and poultry are smoked safely, you’ll need two types of thermometers: one for the food and one for the smoker. A thermometer is needed to monitor the air temperature in the smoker or grill to be sure the heat stays between 225 °F (107.2°C) and 300 °F (148.8°C) throughout the cooking process. For more information, please visit  Smoking Meat and Poultry “

I tested the Ask Karen site on a couple of topics: cooking stuffing in the turkey cavity, brining, deep frying, marinating, and thawing. There are hit results for all of the topics other than deep frying; I found no information on that topic. When you have questions on deep frying, you could proceed to the Live Chat section of Ask Karen.

If you’re cooking your Thanksgiving turkey for the first time, and just want a basic overview of the whole process, start with Safe and Easy Thanksgiving Dinner. This short two-minute video, narrated by USDA, starts by telling you when to thaw the turkey. It’s not too late for you to start thawing now if you thaw it in cold water. The video also tells you to be sure to cook stuffing outside the bird, and how to store your leftovers. It also reminds you about the USDA’s hotline help service at 1-888-MPHotline. The Hotline is open on Thanksgiving Day from 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p. m., Eastern Time, so you can call while you’re getting ready to cook. It’s hard to imagine a country that takes its turkey more seriously than the United States; it’s the ultimate family meal.

Don’t take your meal too seriously, though. Loads of folks have their very own turkey disaster story, and this year may be the one for you to collect your own story. If you’ve accidentally cooked the giblets in your turkey’s cavity, or left on the plastic bits that wind the turkey’s legs together, the USDA has answers for your questions on those topics too. Hock Locks and Other Accoutrements will tell you what to do to resolve these conundrums, and like another famous volume, should come with the cover label: “Don’t panic!” Hock locks is the turkey producer’s name for the plastic bits that lock together the turkey legs, and according to the document, the hock locks are made of nylon or metal, and while it’s generally safe to cook your turkey with them on, the turkey legs will be more evenly cooked if you remove the locks before cooking. With reassurance like this document offers, you can manage a stress-free meal, even if you wind up fighting with your family over the Thanksgiving bowl games.

Want to serve the perfect bird this Thanksgiving? Want some more tips on brining? Make this Thanksgiving a safe and tasty one; try reading some of these documents before you turn on the oven or fire up the grill. There are records for Ask Karen, Safe and Easy Thanksgiving Dinner, and Hock Locks and Other Accoutrements in the Catalog of Government Publications. You can finish the meal with a recipe for pumpkin pie from the USDA’s National Agriculture Library Web site.

How can I access these publications?

Guest Blogger Jennifer Davis is Manager of the Bibliographic Control Section of GPO’s Library Services and Content Management Division

The Financial Crisis Revisited

September 16, 2013

Today marks the 5th anniversary of the collapse of Lehman Brothers. It was the largest bankruptcy in U.S. history, and was a key event leading to the global financial crisis.

This creates a good opportunity to revisit blogger Jim Cameron’s review of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Report from January 28th, 2011 – JET

I recently read a book about Ivar Kreuger, the famed “Match King” of the 1920s. Kreuger attempted to monopolize the match manufacturing industry on an international scale by obtaining state monopolies from national governments in exchange for large loans. His amazing financial record got him on the cover of Time magazine in October 1929, just as the stock market crash was beginning. Less than three years later, his companies teetering on the edge of bankruptcy and his crude forgeries of Italian bonds coming to light, he shot himself. Yet the author concludes that, for most of his career, his companies produced real profits and excellent returns for investors – he wasn’t simply a world-class swindler who single-handedly brought on a world crisis. It brings home the fact that great financial crises and collapses are not usually tied to a single individual or industry – the blame tends to be more widespread. It takes much more than a Kreuger or Madoff to light the fuse.

All of this comes to mind when perusing the official edition of The Financial Crisis Inquiry Report, the final report of the National Commission on the Causes of the Financial and Economic Crisis in the United States. Note: This official edition is complete, including all 129 pages of dissenting views. I’m no economist, but it seems clear that a series of interlocking corporate and government practices and missteps, extending far beyond any one person, company or sector, caused the economy to tank.

It’s also interesting to see how quickly events recede in the mind. When was the last time you heard about the downfall of Lehman Brothers? Reading this report transports me back to those very scary weeks a little more than two years ago, when everything that had seemed so secure in the economy suddenly displayed all of the characteristics of a wooden skyscraper full of termites.

This book is no easy read, but its subject is compelling, faced as we are with the aftermath of the crisis. It’s a serious report for serious times, and the voluminous dissenting views show how uncertain root causes can be, accept them or not as you will. You can find The Financial Crisis Inquiry Report here, http://cybercemetery.unt.edu/archive/fcic/20110310173538/http://www.fcic.gov/report buy a copy of the official edition, including all of the text of the dissenting views, here: http://bookstore.gpo.gov/search/apachesolr_search/financial%20crisis , or get it at a library http://www.worldcat.org/search?qt=worldcat_org_all&q=financial+crisis+inquiry+report  .

“Confronted with the Fierce Urgency of Now”: 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom

August 27, 2013

march on washingtonRiding for twenty hours on a bus, with no access to motels, public bathrooms, and restaurants, is a trip daunting enough to put most people off it. Privations like those were not enough to hold back the attendees of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, held August 28, 1963. Approximately 250,000 people participated, and most of the African Americans who came to Washington, D.C. had journeys just like that. Of all the convulsive events of the 1960s, the March on Washington was the most determinedly hopeful.

The organizers of the original March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, also known as “the Great March on Washington”, intended the march to call for civil and economic rights for African Americans. The march culminated in a program featuring a cast of celebrated singers, religious leaders, and civil rights leaders chosen for their significance to the movement and its cause. Marian Anderson reprised her famous 1939 concert on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial by singing the National Anthem. Mahalia Jackson, the famed gospel singer, delivered/sang the apt selections “How I Got Over”, and “I’ve Been ‘Buked, and I’ve Been Scorned”. Myrlie Evers, the recent widow of murdered civil rights activist Medgar Evers, gave a tribute to the “Negro Women Fighters for Freedom”: Rosa Parks, Daisy Bates, Diane Nash, Mrs. Herbert (Prince) Lee, and Gloria Richardson. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his famous “I Have a Dream” speech. Dr. King said, “There will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights”, but he also said,

“…in the process of gaining our rightful place, we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence.”

His listeners heeded his words. Prior to the march, many politicians (including President Kennedy) and potential participants feared it would end in violence. The event took place peacefully, in a joyful spirit, according to accounts of marchers recorded afterwards.  You can learn more about the march and the Civil Rights movement in Free at Last: the U.S. Civil Rights Movement.

This speech and the event itself have become cultural icons in American history, and both are attributed responsibility for helping with the passage of the Civil Rights Act (1964), the Fair Housing Act (1968), and the now-defunct Voting Rights Act (1965). People’s hopes for the outcome for the March were ultimately rewarded, although it took years to see those hopes come to fruition.

As the fiftieth anniversary of this event approaches, organizers have planned a number of celebrations to honor both the veterans of the march and the march’s historical significance. Volunteers will ring bells from the places Dr. King mentioned in his “I Have a Dream” speech on the day as well: Stone Mountain, Georgia; Lookout Mountain, Tennessee; Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado; as well as other locations. The organization “50th Anniversary March on Washington” is holding a conference regarding civil rights on August 27, and leading a recreation of the march to the National Mall on August 28, 2013. At the end of the march, President Obama will give a speech from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, where Dr. King spoke so movingly. Hopefully he’ll stand near the plaque marking Dr. King’s speech, that Congress arranged in An Act to Provide for the Placement at the Lincoln Memorial of a Plaque Commemorating the Speech of Martin Luther King, Jr., Known as the “I Have a Dream” Speech.

You can find out more about this period in our history by reading Free at Last: the U.S. Civil Rights Movement, and An Act to Provide for the Placement at the Lincoln Memorial of a Plaque Commemorating the Speech of Martin Luther King, Jr., Known as the “I Have a Dream” Speech.  There are records available for the electronic versions of both works in the Catalog of Government Publications.

How can I access these publications?

Guest Blogger Jennifer Davis works for GPO’s Library Services and Content Management Division, which supports the Federal Depository Library Program. She is a frequent contributor to this blog.

Earth Day

April 19, 2012

ImageAs we celebrate the 42nd Earth Day, the arrival of warm weather and the planting of summer gardens, our Guest Blogger — GPO Public Relations Specialist Emma Wojtowicz — takes a look at a few Federal publications focusing on the environment and how they play a role in our communities.

Congressional Budget Office: Potential Impacts of Climate Change in the United States

Published in May 2009, this report by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) defines climate change and examines the causes and potential impact climate change has on North America. The report is brief (only 17 pages), concise and written in plain language, so you do not have to be a scientist to understand the focus of the paper. CBO effectively explains the scope of climate change and the effect is has on different parts of our environment. A few interesting takeaways:

  • Energy from the sun is absorbed by the Earth’s climate system and then radiated back into space. Greenhouse gases increase the amount of energy being held, thus warming the Earth’s surface.
  • Aerosol gases from volcanic eruptions have the opposite effect – they cool the Earth.
  • Climate change causes precipitation to be unevenly distributed: regions and seasons that already have greater precipitation will tend to get more and drier regions will tend to get less.
  • Rising surface temperature of the ocean increase the strength, size and intensity of hurricanes and typhoons.
  • Higher concentrations of carbon dioxide, a kind of greenhouse gas, will boost forest growth and timber production.

The Container Tree Nursery Manual, Volume Seven: Seedling Processing, Storage and Outplanting

A rite of spring and summer involves planning and preparing for outdoor landscaping and gardens, which means a trip to the nursery. Do you ever question where those trees come from? In the Container Tree Nursery Manual you will learn about the cultivation of trees from seed to what you purchase at the store. This publication is a bit dense with scientific processes and terminology, but once you get used to the tone of the book it makes for a fascinating read. Informative pictures, charts, graphs and diagrams help readers understand the content and “see” the entire life of a nursery tree from the planting, growing, storing, and shipping stages. For gardening enthusiasts, you can learn practical information that can be adapted to your own gardening endeavors. While you may not be planting trees in containers, the book emphasizes important growing techniques and considerations that you can apply to your own potted plants like the depth of the container for roots, water amount and frequency, as well as outside temperature.

Restorative Commons: Creating Health and Well-being through Urban Landscapes

This publication embodies the community spirit of Earth Day. Previously blogged about in August 2010, Restorative Commons is a lovely book about the importance and positive effect gardens and green landscapes have on urban communities. Urban gardening projects bring together neighbors and people of all ages giving them a common goal and a visible result to take pride in. The book explores the history of urban landscaping and ways community parks have shaped society; next it goes through various case studies of urban gardening initiatives in American cities and the impact they have on their communities; and then concludes with interviews with the people who lead the initiatives that beautify and strengthen their communities through urban gardens. Restorative Commons reflects the purpose and essence of Earth Day, which is to work with your neighbors to make a positive contribution to the community you live in and in turn an impression on greater global community.    

How do I obtain these Federal publications?

Congressional Budget Office: Potential Impacts of Climate Change in the United States

  • Buy it online 24/7 at GPO’s Online Bookstore
  • Buy it at GPO’s retail bookstore at 710 North Capitol Street NW, Washington, DC  20401, open Monday-Friday, 9am to 4pm, except Federal holidays, (202) 512-0132.
  • Find it in a library

The Container Tree Nursery Manual, Volume Seven: Seedling Processing, Storage and Outplanting

  • Buy it online 24/7 at GPO’s Online Bookstore
  • Buy it at GPO’s retail bookstore at710 North Capitol Street NW,Washington,DC20401, open Monday-Friday, 9am to 4pm, except Federal holidays, (202) 512-0132.
  • Find it in a library

Restorative Commons: Creating Health and Well-being through Urban Landscapes

  • Buy it online 24/7 at GPO’s Online Bookstore
  • Buy it at GPO’s retail bookstore at710 North Capitol Street NW,Washington,DC20401, open Monday-Friday, 9am to 4pm, except Federal holidays, (202) 512-0132.
  • Find it in a library

The Great Beyond…On Earth?

July 20, 2011

Guest blogger Camille Turner takes a look at where our universe has come from and where it is going.

I think like many members of my generation, my interest in space sparked with  Steven Speilberg’s E.T. – The Extra-Terrestrial, and then there was no looking back. Cosmos and Culture: Cultural Evolution in a Cosmic Context from the NASA History Series maintains a lot of those same wonderful aspects as a Spielberg flick; it’s enjoyable, it defines itself through the particulars of science and the unknown, and it creates a universal appeal by tapping into the bigger questions of how culture itself has evolved to what it is today.

One of the really amazing aspects to this book is that it isn’t just an exploration of space: experts from an array of fields including science, history and anthropology, all explore culture in the context of the cosmos. By investigating a set of recurring principles, particularly evolution, the authors of each section relate a principle to the expansion of the cosmos, in such a way that makes perfect sense.

For instance, when evolution was first established as a concept, it was considered blasphemous. Now, it is not only accepted in every arena of science; it is a symbol of cultural values, as can be seen by the fish on the back of cars containing the word “Darwin” and occasionally growing feet.

The authors of Cosmos and Culture take these widely accepted ideas and push them one step further: if we see evolution everywhere, even in the evolution of technology and physics, how could the cosmos not be evolving too?

Even better: the entire book is written in layman’s terms. By utilizing diagrams when needed and expanding on common metaphors to maintain the reader’s interest, this seemingly intimidating volume becomes a manageable and enjoyable read.

For scientists, space enthusiasts and history lovers alike, this volume transcends most lines between astronomical and sociological research to fuse into a compelling detailing of where our universe has come from and where we are going, both culturally and evolutionarily.

You can get a copy from our online bookstore or find it in a library.

Are We Really Prepared for the Worst?

July 13, 2011

Guest Blogger Matthew Brentzel takes a look at the capabilities of U.S. Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) response teams.

Every so often, I look back on those horrific atrocities committed on September 11, 2001.  I remember being in middle school, where the teachers were reluctant to inform us of what was going on.  I also remember the news stories questioning the capability of our country to deal with such a catastrophe.  Although we are surrounded by fear and uncertainty in trying times, we can always find relief by looking towards the brave men and women that put their lives on the line for the good of our country.

Events like this have occurred before.  I’ve heard stories from my grandparents about Pearl Harbor and the impact it had on history.  We can all agree that these events were truly awful, but we must also accept the fact that we live in troubled times and events like these may be minor compared to the crises that could occur.  Are We Prepared?: Four WMD Crises that could Transform U.S. Security, by the Center for the Study of Weapons of Mass Destruction takes a stab at discussing this heated topic in a serious but effective manner.

I really want to stress “serious, but effective.”  Through a series of four crisis scenarios, Are We Prepared? looks at such issues as nuclear proliferation, the release of chemical weapons, and even a nuclear explosion in a major city.  Perhaps most of us are more inclined to worry about preventing these events rather than preparing to respond to them, but there are times when prevention is not enough and response is necessary.  While reading this book, at first I was taken aback by its willingness to accept the possible losses in one of the scenarios, but this approach enlightens the reader by stressing the high importance of applying appropriate countermeasures. This clear, concise report delves into four different crisis simulations in detail, including preventative measures and how we can be ready to counter such events.  It also goes on to discuss the policy implications of each of these crises for the United States as a whole.

Perhaps the frightening subject matter may prevent some from reading it, but Are We Prepared? documents what we need to do to succeed in the future against an enemy for whom we perhaps can never be fully prepared.  In addition, although at first I was reluctant to believe it, this book helped me realize that we will be able to move on as a nation even though the events it describes could severely alter our future.  The only question is, “Are we prepared?”

If you are interested in politics or international relations, you can find this fascinating book on the US Government Printing Office online bookstore or browse it in a library.

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