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The campaign against smoking, though directed from Washington, has become a nationwide popular social cause. It has been joined by growing numbers of teachers, businessmen, movie and TV stars and sports heroes. A few television stations have voluntarily dropped cigarette advertising, and some ad agencies—including Ogilvy & Mather and Doyle Dane Bernbach—turn down cigarette business. Among the athletes, Skater Peggy Fleming, Quarterback Bart Starr and Outfielder Carl Yastrzemski star in American Cancer Society ads proclaiming "I don't smoke cigarettes." Doris Day and Lawrence Welk refuse to appear on TV programs sponsored by cigarette companies. Tony Curtis recently became head of a cancer society organization named I.Q. (for "I Quit"), which passes out lapel buttons to people who do so and dispatches public speakers to spread the antismoking message far and wide.

The Children's Crusade

The antismoking campaign has become something of a children's crusade; now it is the youngsters who try to persuade their parents not to smoke. Teenagers and children have been strongly influenced by the American Cancer Society and other private health groups, which send touring displays to schools, showing how lungs are affected by smoking. Most of all, young people have responded to the persuasive antismoking television commercials, which the FCC has ordered all stations to carry. "People used to call their cigarettes 'cancer sticks,' but they never really believed it before," says Dr. Charles Dale, a Chicago pathologist. "Now their kids are bugging them, so they can't even smoke in peace any more."

It is indisputable that Americans are losing some of their taste for smoking. Pollster Louis Harris reports that in the past four years the smoking population has declined from 47% to 42% of those over 21. One reason is that, in the same period, the number of Americans who believe smoking is a "major cause" of lung cancer has risen from 40% to 49%. Harris found that, by a ratio of 5 to 4, Americans favor restrictions on TV and radio ads for cigarettes. Significantly, those who are "most convinced" that cigarettes are dangerous tend to be people under 30. The polls confirm suspicions that smoking is encountering a psychological reversal among the young. Although cigarettes are still a staple of adolescence, they are no longer the props for manliness and sophistication that they once were.

The tobacco industry is suffering. In 1968, cigarette sales declined for the third straight year. The decrease, from 572.6 billion cigarettes in 1967 to 571.7 billion last year, seems minuscule. But it is disturbing to an industry that had been able to count on steady growth be fore the 1964 Surgeon General's report linked smoking to cancer. In 1968, per capita consumption of cigarettes among American adults dropped from 210 packs to 205. Overall industry profits remain high, but only because the tobacco men have been able to step up exports and sales of non-tobacco items.

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