- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 15, 2007

Dr. Peter V. Hamill, 80, anti-smoking advocate

ANNAPOLIS (AP) — Dr. Peter VanVechten Hamill, medical coordinator for the surgeon general’s report that spurred Congress to require warning labels on cigarette packs, died March 10 at Anne Arundel Medical Center of complications from pneumonia. He was 80.

Dr. Hamill was scientific director and medical coordinator under U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Luther L. Terry, who issued the groundbreaking study in 1964 that said smoking was a major cause of lung cancer and other diseases. In 1965, at Dr. Terry’s urging, Congress required tobacco companies to stamp each pack of cigarettes with a warning that reads, “The surgeon general has determined that cigarette smoking is dangerous to your health.”

Dr. Hamill also was chairman of a government study on human growth that reported in 1976 that a trend of the stature of Americans increasingly steadily decade by decade through most of the past century had virtually ceased during the 1950s. The research was used to design the growth and development charts used by doctors and nutritionists.

Dr. Hamill was born in Baltimore and grew up in Detroit. He earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor and medical degrees from the University of Michigan and Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.

He served in the Navy during World War II and had a career as a commissioned officer in the U.S. Public Health Service.

Dr. Hamill was an avid sportsman and accomplished sailor who was a Golden Gloves boxing champion in 1944, his family said.

Survivors include his wife of 54 years, Margot Henry Hamill; two sons, Peter V. Hamill Jr. of Annapolis and Northmore W. Hamill II of Falls Church; and two daughters, January H. Gatza of Bel Air, Md., and Hannah E. Hamill of Chester.

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