55 years ago today, the Surgeon General of the U.S. released a landmark report which concluded that smoking likely caused lung cancer and other diseases. The announcement shifted attitudes toward tobacco and led to a 50 percent drop in the number of American smokers. One year later, prominent health warning labels were required on all cigarette packaging and advertising. (1964)

Surgeon General Luther Terry, a doctor from Alabama serving under President Kennedy, organized and chaired a panel of medical doctors and researchers to make recommendations in the United States, following an alarming 1962 UK report that clearly described smoking as a cause of bronchitis, cancer, and likely cardiovascular disease.

MORE Good News on this Date:

  • Popular Mechanics magazine was published for the first time (1902)
  • Insulin was first used to treat diabetes in a human patient. (1922)
  • Amelia Earhart became the first person to fly solo from Hawaii to California (1935)
  • The Beatles released their first single in the United States, a 45-rpm record featuring Please, Please Me (1963)
  • English chess player Nigel Short at age 14 became the youngest ever International Chess Master, four years before becoming the youngest grandmaster in the world (1980)
  • 300,000 marched in favor of Lithuanian independence (1990)
  • Illinois Governor Ryan said he would grant clemency to all death row inmates due to his belief that the death penalty could not be administered fairly and with certainty (2003)
  • Sean Penn threw an annual gala that raised $6 million from celebrity friends for his J/P Haitian Relief Organization (2014)
National Park Service photo

And on this day in 1908, a steep-sided canyon carved by the Colorado River for two billion years was established as the Grand Canyon National Monument by President Theodore Roosevelt after he visited the awe-inspiring site seven years earlier. 277 miles long (446 km), and over a mile deep (1,857 m), the Grand Canyon in Arizona, exposes layer after layer of geological history. The Pueblo people considered the canyon a holy site, and it was viewed by the first European in 1540— García López de Cárdenas.

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