London (AP) Newly released documents show the British cabinet received warnings about the link between smoking and lung cancer more than 50 years ago. But officials didn't do much because they thought the threat minor and feared losing tax revenue.
The National Archives released previously secret handwritten notes from a 1956 cabinet meeting that was held two years after scientists first published research linking smoking to lung cancer.
The treasury chief who later became prime minister called it “a very serious issue” because he couldn't see how to replace the lost tax revenue from tobacco sales.
The cabinet discussed whether it was “necessary to expose facts” and eventually decided not to take action and to wait for another report. It would be another nine years until the British government banned cigarette advertising on television.