The Anti-Cigarette League publishes a pamphlet claiming links between cigarette smoking and brain disease.
The Imperial Tobacco Company of the United Kingdom and The American Tobacco Company of the United States agree to end a trade war by forming a joint venture, the 'British-American Tobacco Company Ltd'. James B. Duke becomes the venture's first Chairman.
The New York City authority bans women from smoking in public. Two weeks later Katie Mulcahey is arrested for violating the rule. As she is led away she declares, "No man shall dictate to me". Cigarette smoking was often seen as a symbol of women's emancipation.
Outbreak of World War I. General John J. Pershing, commander-in-chief of the American forces in France in 1917, calls tobacco "indispensable to the daily ration". In Europe, troops use cigarettes to pass time and to try to calm their nerves. The popularity of cigarettes in the armed forces associates tobacco with patriotism.
US State of Idaho bans cigarette sales.
Despite the bans, cigarette sales continue to increase. The American Mercury reports, "The more violently it has been banned, the more popular it has become."
US President Roosevelt makes tobacco a protected crop as part of the World War II war effort. His wife Eleanor was dubbed "the first lady to smoke in public".
During World War II, smoking increases. By the middle of the next decade, more than a quarter of American women and more than half of American men smoke cigarettes.
Two British researchers, Richard Doll and A. Bradford Hill, report the results of a four-year study comparing 1,465 lung cancer patients to an equal number of patients with other diseases, matched for age, sex and region. They conclude that lung cancer patients are considerably more likely to be smokers and much more likely to be heavy smokers.
Public health warnings emerge.
The American Surgeon General publishes a 387-page report stating: "Cigarette smoking is a health hazard of sufficient importance in the United States to warrant appropriate remedial action." For the first time smoking is banned in the State Department auditorium.
The tobacco industry sees substantial annual duty increases which result in cigarette taxation increasing by 85 per cent or more in several countries, including the UK.
Litigation issues tend to dominate the news headlines around the tobacco industry. In the US, five years after the first State lawsuit was filed, major US tobacco companies signed a Master Settlement Agreement with 46 State Attorneys-General, giving these US states more than $200 billion in total over 25 years in settlement of lawsuits seeking reimbursement for the Medicaid costs of treating sick smokers. The Master Settlement Agreement restored stability to the tobacco companies, allowing them to concentrate again on running their businesses.
2000 and beyond
US litigation continues to dominate headlines in the early years of the decade but the threat is perceived to recede with outcomes such as the de-certification of the Engle class action lawsuit by the Florida Supreme Court. The Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) is adopted by the World Health Organisation; it calls for restrictions on tobacco advertising and sponsorships, new labelling standards, clean indoor air controls and stronger action against cigarette smuggling.
Tobacco companies work with governments to reduce smuggling. Tougher restrictions on smoking in enclosed public places are enacted in an increasing number of countries. British American Tobacco works towards producing commercially viable, consumer-acceptable, reduced risk products.