This machine kills

In November, the American Cancer Society sponsors its annual Great American Smokeout and the Lung Cancer Alliance designates November as National Lung Cancer Awareness Month.

The 1956 photograph below highlights early research at the University of Minnesota linking lung cancer with smoking. Dr. Harold S. Diehl, then Dean of the College of Medical Sciences, is showcasing a machine designed to chain smoke cigarettes in order to collect tar samples for research.


A sign on the table explains that these “investigations are being carried out to study this apparent relationship” between smoking and lung cancer. A conical flask on the table collects the smoke pulled from the cigarettes.

Dr. Diehl retired as dean in 1958 after serving in the position since 1935. He then went to work full-time for the American Cancer Society as senior vice president for research and medical affairs and deputy executive vice president, a position he had held since November 1957. For ten years Diehl oversaw the ACS’s scientific research programs that bolstered policy positions aimed at reducing illnesses attributed to smoking.