Tobacco center’s women and smoking exhibition featured in The Cancer Letter

December 4, 2023

November is both Lung Cancer Awareness Month and Tobacco Awareness Month. With these themes in mind, the Nov. 3, 2023, issue of The Cancer Letter (TCL) featured excerpts of the latest online exhibition by The University of Alabama Center for the Study of Tobacco and Society, “‘Mild As May, with red tips to match your pretty lips and fingertips’: How tobacco companies sold women a pack of lies” ( This exhibition traces the history and tragic legacy of efforts by the tobacco industry throughout the 20th Century to encourage women to smoke.

“‘Mild As May,’” which took three years to create, includes more than 250 items related to women and smoking from the collection of Dr. Alan Blum, endowed chair in family medicine at UA’s College of Community Health Sciences, who founded the Center in 1999. It is the first in-depth exhibition on this subject and comes on the heels of The New York Times Oct. 12, 2023, article, “Younger Women Are Getting Lung Cancer at Higher Rates Than Men” (New York Times).

TCL has a global readership in oncology and also reaches the general medical and public health communities. This is the eighth exhibition by the Center that TCL has highlighted. The others are:

Since May 2022, UA undergraduate computer engineering major Bryce Callahan has assisted in the design of the Center’s online exhibitions and in organizing the thousands of items on the Center’s website, The Center, which has an exhibition space with items from the Center’s collection, is located in the Northeast Medical Building on UA’s campus.

On Jan. 11, 2024, as part of the CCHS monthly Art of Medicine Rounds series, the Center will commemorate the 60th anniversary of the publication of the landmark Surgeon General’s Report on Smoking and Health. The guest presenter will be Don Shopland, the lone surviving member of the team that produced the report, which was released by Alabamian Dr. Luther Terry when he served as U.S. Surgeon General.

Links to The Cancer Letter and its coverage of the Center’s latest exhibition:

The Cancer Letter (TCL), Nov. 3, 2023:

“IN THE TCL ARCHIVES: The Center for the Study of Tobacco and Society: How cigarette companies targeted women through advertising”:

THE CANCER HISTORY PROJECT: “’Mild As May, with red tips to match your pretty lips and fingertips’…”: