While a young medical student at Washington University, Alton Ochsner observed the autopsy of a lung cancer victim. His professor impressed upon him the rarity of such a case.
Years later, while at Tulane, Dr. Ochsner remembered that lesson when he began to notice a dramatic increase in the number of lung cancer cases he dealt with. He discovered that
smoking was not prevalent prior to World War I, when machine-made cigarettes first came into wide-spread use. As a result, Ochsner became the first to link smoking with lung cancer.