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May 15, 1972

Unscientific Cultism: "Dangerous to Your Health!"

JAMA. 1972;220(7):1009-1010. doi:10.1001/jama.1972.03200070097016

Placards proclaiming "More than 100,000 Physicians Have Stopped Smoking" first appeared several years ago and "reruns" of that comment remain popular. Whether more than the first 100,000 have stopped smoking, or even if some of them have resumed smoking, is not the point of this commentary. But it does seem reasonable to presume that the cigarette package "warning" of such an authoritarian figure as the Surgeon General would be heeded by a substantial number of physicians. And by an even greater number of others.

The Surgeon General nominally heads the United States Public Health Service, a segment of the sprawling Department of Health, Education and Welfare (HEW), which has the facilities and staff to evaluate and report on almost any segment of American life. For example, in 1967 Congress requested that HEW conduct an independent unbiased study of chiropractic. The 1968 report of that study concluded:

Chiropractic theory and practice