Wednesday, October 10, 2007
Luther Leonidas Terry (September 15, 1911 – March 29, 1985) was the Surgeon General of the United States from 1961 to 1965. Terry is best known for sending out the warning that tobacco is a health hazard. This warning was issued on January 11, 1964. His statement has had a worldwide impact and is still part of the basis of tobacco control efforts today.
Luther Terry himself continued to play a leading role in the campaign against smoking after leaving the post of Surgeon General, which he occupied through October 1, 1965. He chaired the National Interagency Council on Smoking and Health, a coalition of government agencies and nongovernment organizations, from 1967 to 1969, and served as a consultant to groups such as the American Cancer Society. Terry helped to obtain a ban on cigarette advertisements on radio and television in 1971. Late in his life he led the effort to eliminate smoking from the workplace.
When Terry retired from government service in 1965, he became Vice President for Medical Affairs, as well as Professor of Medicine and Community Medicine, at the University of Pennsylvania. Terry was responsible for managing the University's health sciences schools, comprising some 40 percent of the University's budget, until he gave up the position of Vice President in 1971. He retained his professorial appointment until 1975, when he became Adjunct Professor, and then in 1981 Emeritus Professor. From 1970 to 1983, he also served as President of University Associates, a nonprofit consulting firm based in Washington, D.C.
Terry's last years were spent as Corporate Vice President for Medical Affairs for ARA Services of Philadelphia (1980–1983) and then as a consultant. He died of heart failure on March 29, 1985, in Philadelphia.
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