Tobacco use--United States, 1900-1999

MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 1999 Nov 5;48(43):986-93.


Smoking--once a socially accepted behavior--is the leading preventable cause of death and disability in the United States. During the first decades of the 20th century, lung cancer was rare; however, as cigarette smoking became increasingly popular, first among men and later among women, the incidence of lung cancer became epidemic (Figure 1). In 1930, the lung cancer death rate for men was 4.9 per 100,000; in 1990, the rate had increased to 75.6 per 100,000 (1). Other diseases and conditions now known to be caused by tobacco use include heart disease, atherosclerotic peripheral vascular disease, laryngeal cancer, oral cancer, esophageal cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, intrauterine growth retardation, and low birthweight. During the latter part of the 20th century, the adverse health effects from exposure to environmental tobacco smoke also were documented. These include lung cancer, asthma, respiratory infections, and decreased pulmonary function (2).

Publication types

  • Biography
  • Historical Article
  • Portrait

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • History, 20th Century
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / etiology
  • Male
  • Public Health / history
  • Smoking / adverse effects
  • Smoking / epidemiology
  • Smoking / history
  • Smoking / trends*
  • United States / epidemiology

Personal name as subject

  • E L Wynder