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Lung Cancer

The first anti-smoking films: how a nation started to quit [Video]

It’s Stoptober: a good moment, during the 75th anniversary of the setting up of Britain’s Central Office of Information, to look at Britain’s first official anti-smoking health education films – a great double-bill. 

Smoking and You (1963) and The Smoking Machine (1964) were made in an era when smoking had been the norm for decades among adults – and indeed children. This pervasive position was dramatically challenged by the 1962 publication of a landmark Royal College of Physicians report officially designating smoking a major cause of lung cancer.

These two films suggest it’s not grown-up to smoke – often a risky approach as official discouragement runs the risk of increasing allure. Though their aims are the same, the feel and style of the two pieces, made a year apart, are very different.

Those fascinating differences are partly explained by the fact that, though both were intended mainly to be shown in schools, they were aimed at different age groups, …

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