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James L. Goddard: FDA chief huffed and puffed

January 5, 2010 | 10:39 am
Goddard pic A do-something commissioner of the FDA in the late 1960s, Dr. James L. Goddard parried with the powerful pharmaceutical industry and spoke frankly about health issues -- even his own. A Times copy editor had a little fun with the headline -- “Smoking Bad, Doctor Says With a  Puff” – on this two-paragraph story that ran Sept. 23, 1966:

WASHINGTON (UPI) – Dr. James L. Goddard, commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, told newsmen Wednesday he thinks smoking is harmful to health.

He was holding a lighted cigaret in his hand as he said it. “I just started again after 2 1/2 years and I’m sort of disgusted with myself,” Goddard admitted.

While being interviewed for his father's obituary, Bruce Goddard laughed when told of the story and said the smoking relapse “had to have been pretty darn brief.”

-- Valerie J. Nelson

Photo: Dr. James L. Goddard testifies before a Senate subcommittee in 1968. Credit: Associated Press