Behaviors pertaining to tobacco use have changed significantly over the past century. Compared with 1964, smoking prevalence rates have halved from 40% to 20%, and as a result there has been a slow but steady decline in the rates of tobacco-induced diseases such as heart disease and cancer. Growing awareness of the health risks of smoking was aided by the US Surgeon Reports that were issued on a nearly annual basis starting from 1964. Concerns about the hazards of breathing in second-hand smoke further contributed to the declining social acceptance of smoking, which evolved into regulatory actions restricting smoking on buses, planes, retail outlets, restaurants, and bars. Today, 23 states and 493 localities have comprehensive laws restricting indoor smoking. This paper examines public policies that have made a significant impact on smoking and lung cancer rates and discusses potential future research directions to further reduce the diseases caused by smoking.