New data from health authorities has revealed one in four smokers still believe the health impact of cigarettes has been exaggerated.
Exactly half a century ago, the top US health official, Luther Terry, delivered his bombshell at a time when tobacco was a way of life.
"Cigarette smoking contributes substantially to mortaility from certain specific diseases and to the overall death rate," he said at the time.
His report highlighting the health risks kicked off decades of worldwide campaigns to curb smoking.
Yet new research shows there's still a strong sense of denial among smokers about the medical impacts.
According to Quit Victoria's survey, 25 per cent of smokers still believe the health effects have been exaggerated with only half when quizzed, immediately associating the habit with lung cancer.
In Australia, smoking rates have halved over the past 35 years to lower than 18 per cent of the population.
But authorities want more done to make cigarettes even less accessible.
"When you consider that cigarettes are more widely available than a loaf of bread, we have to say, for such a deadly product, is it really appropriate?" Fiona Sharkie at Quit Victoria says.