The anatomy of the lungs and chest had been studied hundreds of years before there was an understanding of the underlying physiology and pathology. Respiratory infections were described in texts as running a “natural course,” and the mortality remained high despite the use of many different therapeutic regimens.
Lucky Strike cigarette advertising (1930)
American Indians were the first to use tobacco in the form of snuff and Christopher Columbus introduced it to Europe with his second voyage that ended in 1496. Tobacco use reached its zenith in the United States in the middle part of the twentieth century. There was no recognition of any danger in smoking by manufacturers who were anxious to demonstrate the safety of their products,
Kent micronite filter advertisement (ca. 1954)
Tobacco companies addressed the rising public concern over the potential health risks of smoking by introducing filtered cigarettes in the 1950’s. Unfortunately for the P. Lorillard Company (and for many employees and smokers), the thirteen billion Kent filtered cigarettes they produced between 1952 and 1957 contained crocidolite asbestos fibers. Thirty percent of each micronite filter manufactured for “extra protection” ironically contained a very carcinogenic material that could produce mesothelioma, a difficult to treat tumor of the lining of the lungs.