First UK report linking smoking to cancer

The consumption of manufactured cigarettes increased significantly in the western world during the first half of the 20th century. An increase in the number of cases of lung cancer in men was also recorded.

The work of Richard Doll and Tony Bradford Hill was instrumental in determining that most lung cancers were caused by cigarette smoking. In 1950, Doll and Bradford Hill published a report on smoking and carcinoma of the lung, which stated that smoking was an important cause of lung cancer.

They then followed this up in 1954 with a cohort study, which sent out over 34,000 questionnaires to male British physicians, to record details of their smoking habits. The study showed a higher mortality in smokers, compared to non-smokers, and concluded that lung cancer could not be attributed to pollution exposure.

Source(s)

Doll R, Bradford Hill A.
Smoking and carcinoma of the lung: preliminary report.
Br Med J; 1950.
2: 739.