Page last updated at 14:56 GMT, Saturday, 30 June 2007 15:56 UK

Timeline: Smoking and disease

Selection of smoking images of the past 50 years

BBC News Online traces key developments in the half a century since researchers began their landmark investigation into links between smoking and life-threatening diseases.

1951: Dr Richard Doll and Prof Austin Bradford Hill conduct first large-scale study of link between smoking and lung cancer.

1954: Dr Doll and his team publish a paper confirming the link.

1957: British Medical Research Council announces "a direct causal connection" between smoking and lung cancer.

1962: Royal College of Physicians report concludes that smoking is a cause of lung cancer and bronchitis, and probably contributes to coronary heart disease. It recommends tougher laws on cigarette sales and advertising, and smoking in public places.

1965: British government bans cigarette advertising on television.

1971: Government health warnings to be carried on all cigarette packets sold in the UK, following an agreement between the government and the tobacco industry.

1973: First tar/nicotine tables published in UK.

1974: Tar tables upgraded, dividing cigarettes into five categories of tar content.

1975: Imperial Tobacco agrees to drop brand names and logos from racing cars in UK races as control of tobacco advertising switches from the industry to the independent Advertising Standards Authority.

1976: Prof Sir Richard Doll and Richard Peto publish results of 20-year study of smokers, and conclude that one in three dies from the habit.

1983: Latest Royal College of Physicians report features passive smoking for the first time. It also asserts that more than 100,000 people die every year in the UK from smoking-related illness.

1984: Smoking banned on London Underground trains.

1985: Smoking ban extended to those stations that are wholly or partly underground.

Smoking can cause fatal diseases
Smoking can cause heart disease
Smoking when pregnant can injure your baby and cause premature birth
Stopping smoking reduces the risk of serious diseases
Smoking can cause lung cancer, bronchitis and other chest diseases
More than 30,000 people die each year in the UK from lung cancer

1986: New advertising and promotion guidelines agreed, including banning tobacco advertising in cinemas and a range of new health warnings.

1987: London Underground smoking ban extended to entire network following the King's Cross station fire, in which 31 people died.

1988: Independent Scientific Committee on Smoking and Health report concludes that non-smokers have a 10-30% higher risk of developing lung cancer if exposed to other people's smoke.

June 1988: A US court awards damages against a tobacco firm to the family of a woman who died of lung cancer.

1989: A UK court rules that injury caused by passive smoking can be an industrial accident.

1992: First nicotine skin patch available on prescription in the UK.

1993: Sir Richard Doll's latest study results suggest smokers are three times more likely to die in middle-age than non-smokers, and up to half of all smokers may eventually die from their habit.

1996: A lung-cancer sufferer awarded $500,000 against a US tobacco company after a jury ruled that the manufacturer had shown negligence in not alerting smokers to the hazards of smoking.

May 1997: New Labour government pledges to ban tobacco advertising.

June 1997: US tobacco firms agree a multi-billion-dollar settlement to cover healthcare costs incurred by treating people with smoking-related illnesses in return for halting multi-action lawsuits and limiting claims for individuals.

1997: Government calls for Formula One to be exempt from proposed EU directive on tobacco advertising and sponsorship, but backs down in the face of widespread criticism which threatens the entire directive.

March 1998: Government-appointed Scientific Committee on Tobacco and Health says passive smoking is a cause of lung cancer and heart disease in adults.

BHF advert
BHF's 2004 advert was graphic

February 1999: Court in California orders Philip Morris to pay $50m damages to a smoker with lung cancer. Award later halved.

March 2000: Another award against Philip Morris and RJ Reynolds becomes a landmark because the plaintiff had begun smoking after health warnings had started appearing on cigarette packets.

2001: New EU directive requires larger, more prominent health warnings on tobacco packaging.

2002: British parliament passes legislation that began as a Private Member's Bill, banning tobacco advertising. Deadline for phasing out sponsorship of Formula One motor racing brought forward to comply with EU directive.

December 2002: British Medical Association calls for a ban in smoking in public places because of the threat to non-smokers.

2003: Cancer Research UK advertising campaign, funded by the Department of Health, targets smokers of mild brands, warning that they could be just as dangerous.

January 2004: British Heart Foundation uses graphic images to reinforce its government-sponsored anti-smoking campaign.

March 2004: The Irish Republic introduce the toughest anti-smoking laws in Europe with a complete ban in workplaces. Taoiseach Bertie Ahern described it as "landmark legislation".

November 2004: A Public Health White Paper proposes introducing a smoking ban in workplaces by 2008, with pubs which do not serve food and private members clubs exempted. The legislation would apply to England and Wales, but the Welsh Assembly has said it would amend the bill to create a comprehensive ban when it gains Royal Assent in England.

March 2005: A British Medical Journal report produces the most authoritative data yet on the impact of passive smoking. Researchers claimed it killed 11,000 a year in the UK.

April 2005: MSPs voted by 83 to 15 to introduce a ban on smoking in public places from April the following year. Smokers who defy the ban are liable to pay a 1,000 fine.

October 2005: Northern Ireland agrees a smoking ban in all workplaces and public spaces from April 2007 as discussions over the England smoking ban break down at cabinet level, causing the smoking ban bill to be delayed and leading to doubts over how a ban will be introduced.

March 2006: A ban on smoking in public places, including bars and restaurants, comes into effect in Scotland on 26 March.

December 2006: The government announces England will get a smoking ban from 1 July 2007.

April 2007: A ban on smoking in enclosed public places begins across Wales on 2 April. Northern Ireland follows suit on 30 April.

July 2007: England's smoking ban comes into force from 0600 BST on 1 July.

08 Feb 03 |  Medical notes

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