Our Story

ACOSH and our partners have led Australia in tobacco control advocacy and action for over 50 years.

The landscape has changed drastically since our organisation was first established in 1965. We’ve made great leaps in reducing tobacco use in Australia and driving change that has helped save countless lives.

Find out more about our history below to see the difference ACOSH has made to the health of Australians over the years as we continue to work towards a tobacco free future.

ACOSH Timeline

Full History of ACOSH

Dr Cotter Harvey
Winfield 25s Paul Hogan

The Beginning of ACOSH

ACOSH is formed

The Australian Council on Smoking and Health (ACOSH) was established in 1965 in New South Wales by Dr Cotter Harvey, President of the Medical Board of New South Wales, and also President of the National Tuberculosis and Chest Association.

Prominent doctors from the disciplines of respiratory medicine and tuberculosis care led the early activities of ACOSH, but they were soon joined by epidemiologists and members of the medical colleges, and complemented by representatives from government departments of health and education, and other community organisations.

Dr Harvey had first been convinced of the health risks of smoking after listening to Dr Alton Ochsner at the 1948 conference of the American Thoracic Society.

In 1950, landmark studies in Britain by Doll and Hill identified smoking as “an important factor in the cause of carcinoma of the lung” and in the United States by Wynder and Graham concluded, “the occurrence of carcinoma of the lung in a male non-smoker or minimal smoker is a rare phenomenon.”

The need for urgent action to reduce smoking was also reinforced by the reports on smoking and health from the Royal College of Physicians of London in 1962 and the US Surgeon General in 1964.

Dr Harvey set up ACOSH in part inspired by the example of the Interagency Council on Smoking and Health, established in the United States in 1964, which brought together government agencies and health pressure groups. He was also frustrated by the lack oDf action from Federal and State Governments to carry out anti-smoking campaigns…

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