On this day in Alabama history: Former Surgeon General Luther Terry died

On this day in Alabama history: Former Surgeon General Luther Terry died
General Luther Terry speaking at a dedication ceremony. (The National Library of Medicine)

March 29, 1985

Luther Leonidas Terry, born in Red Level in Covington County, served as U.S. surgeon general in the 1960s. Terry, who graduated from Birmingham-Southern College and earned his medical degree from Tulane University, was appointed by President John F. Kennedy to the post in 1961. Terry quit smoking in 1963 and made it his mission to urge millions of Americans also to quit. His 1964 surgeon general’s report on smoking and health conclusively determined that smoking was a deadly health hazard. His actions led to the warning labels on cigarette packages, which continue to this day. Terry, who died on this day in 1985, along with U.S. Sen. Lister Hill was one of the most influential Alabamians in improving public health during the 20th century.

Read more at Encyclopedia of Alabama.

For more on Alabama’s bicentennial, go to Alabama 200.

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