McFarland, Adventist Whose Five-Day Plan Helped Millions Quit Smoking, Dies at 97
Smoking-cessation program swept nation in 1960s
BY ANSEL OLIVER, assistant director for news, General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists
Dr. J. Wayne McFarland, a physician and a Seventh-day Adventist health advocate who coauthored the Five-Day Plan to Stop Smoking, which drew millions to seminars in the 1960s, died March 14 at a retirement facility in Loma Linda, California. He was 97.
HEALTH PIONEER: Dr. J. Wayne McFarland helped millions quit smoking as the coauthor of the Five-Day Plan to Stop Smoking. Here, he addresses a luncheon at the Sheraton-
Chicago hotel in 1969.
McFarland and coauthor Elman J. Folkenberg released the smoking-cessation program at a time when smoking was prescribed for breathing problems.
The duo offered their first smoking-cessation seminar in Taunton, Massachusetts, in 1960, later releasing the 1962 book Five-Day Plan to Stop Smoking for pastors and health experts to offer the program in communities across the United States.
McFarland, a physician, and Folkenberg, a pastor, would encourage seminar participants to repeat the sentance “I choose not to smoke” in unison and throughout the day, Time magazine reported in 1963.
The Time article also noted that the seminar included a strong spiritual component, similar to support methods of Alcoholics Anonymous. Participants were also given specific dietary instructions to accompany the plan and matched with a buddy to monitor each other’s progress.
“The Five-Day Plan was enormously successful; it met a real felt need,” said Dr. Allan Handysides, General Conference Health Ministries Department director.
J. Wayne McFarland was born in Brawley, California, on August 11, 1913, and graduated from Madison College in Nashville, Tennessee. He earned a medical degree from Loma Linda University in 1939 before serving a fellowship in physical medicine and rehabilitation at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.
He practiced and taught in Philadelphia, first at Temple University Hospital and later at Jefferson University Hospital. He worked for the Adventist Church’s headquarters in the 1940s and 1950s, editing Life and Health magazine, and helped to establish what is now Adventist-laymen’s Services and Industries, a lay supporting organization of the denomination.
Later, while serving as an associate director for the Adventist Church Health Ministries Department from 1970 to 1980, McFarland would team up with Adventist evangelists to offer a practical health message to accompany a series’ spiritual outreach, something he did in six continents during his career.
After retirement he continued traveling the world, offering smoking-cessation support in Russia and serving as a special consultant on health education to the Shenyang Municipality of China.
McFarland received numerous awards from municipalities and universities, including a medallion of merit from the World Health Organization in 1988.
Elman Folkenberg, McFarland’s seminar partner, died in 1986. (Elman’s nephew, Robert S. Folkenberg, served as General Conference president from 1990 to 1999.)
McFarland’s wife, Dolly, preceded him in death in 2008. Two daughters, three grandchildren, and eight great-grandchildren survive.
—with additional reporting by Don A. Roth