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Exhibition Art in Action: Herblock and Fellow Artists Respond to Their Times

Herblock (1909–2001). “I’m Still Cutting Down, Too,” 1965. Graphite, India ink, and opaque white over graphite underdrawing. Published in the Washington Post, January 13, 1965. Herbert L. Block Collection, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress. © Herb Block Foundation (020.00.00)

Facing Facts

Not permitted to smoke cigarettes while recovering from a heart attack in 1959 helped Herblock to quit smoking. At first reluctant to urge others to stop smoking or avoid starting, the cartoonist came to realize that “with the health hazards increasingly obvious and tobacco companies showing a callous irresponsibility,” the issue warranted attention in his work. His chilling scene of the Grim Reaper offering a smoker a light drives home the life-threatening hazard posed by the habit, then estimated to be responsible for at least 125,000 deaths a year according to a 1965 government agency report.