Show Notes: The Nonsmoker Revolution

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Season 2: When Law Changed the World

The second season of “Common Law” explores pivotal moments when law — and lawyers — changed the world. Hosts Risa Goluboff and Leslie Kendrick look back at turning points that shed light on the world today and how we got here. MORE

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Sarah Milov
S2 E1: The Nonsmoker Revolution
After the U.S. surgeon general released a landmark report on the dangers of smoking, lawyers and activists helped curb a public health epidemic, UVA historian Sarah Milov explains. More
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Show Notes: The Nonsmoker Revolution

Sarah Milov

Sarah Milov is an assistant professor in the Corcoran Department of History at the University of Virginia focused on 20th-century U.S. history. Her work explores how organized interest groups and everyday Americans influence government policy and the terms of political debate. She is the author of “The Cigarette: A Political History” (Harvard, 2019), a history of tobacco in the 20th century that places farmers, government officials and citizen-activists at the center of the story. Rather than focusing exclusively on Big Tobacco, she argues that domestic and global cigarette consumption rose through the efforts of organized tobacco farmers and U.S. government officials, and that it fell as a result of local government action spurred by the efforts of citizen-activists and activist lawyers. She is also working on a project on the relationship between gender and whistleblowing in the 20th century.

Milov holds a Ph.D. and M.A. from Princeton University and a B.A. from Harvard.

Listening to the Show

John Banzhaf

John F. Banzhaf III is a law professor at George Washington University, is known for leading an anti-smoking movement through creative legal strategies.

Fairness Doctrine


ASH, or Action on Smoking & Health, was launched in 1967 by Banzhaf to fight the harm caused by tobacco. After Banzhaf petitioned the Federal Communications Commission, arguing that radio and TV stations must devote free airtime to anti-smoking messages in accordance with the fairness doctrine (to balance smoking ads), ASH began its efforts by placing anti-smoking messages on radio and television.

Group Against Smokers’ Pollution (GASP): The first grassroots GASP chapter formed in 1971 by Clara Gouin, with the mission of protecting the rights of nonsmokers. GASP spearheaded passing local ordinances controlling where people could smoke.

Citizens to Reduce Airline Smoking Hazards (CRASH) worked with Banzhaf to petition federal agencies for a nonsmoking section in airplanes and limiting smoking in airports.

Other Key Figures and Information


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