Does smoking cause lung cancer? The Outer House Court Session in Scotland said not necessarily

I have very embarrassingly been invited to a symposium on the causes of lung cancer in smokers and whether the correlation is causal or whether it is confounded. Lots of midnight oil burning for me with copious notes. For the record I believe there is sound evidence that it does.

It is one of the strange ironies that we in the pro choice movement do not use this as ammunition against the anti smokers. It concerns:

“Alfred McTear died, aged 48, on 23 March 1993. He and his wife, Mrs Margaret McTear…He was the original pursuer in this action. After his death his wife, as his executrix-dative, was sisted as the pursuer in his room and place. For convenience I shall refer to them respectively as Mr McTear and Mrs McTear.

[1.3] The defenders are Imperial Tobacco Limited, whom I shall refer to as ITL. They manufacture, market and sell tobacco products in the United Kingdom, particularly cigarettes, including the John Player brand. They supply cigarettes to retail outlets throughout Scotland for onward sale to the public, and have done so for many years.

[1.4] Mr McTear died of lung cancer. In this action Mrs McTear claims that this was caused, at least to a material extent, by his smoking, from 1964 to 1992 cigarettes manufactured by ITL, and that throughout the period during which he smoked them ITL were negligent in selling cigarettes, or in any event in selling them without appropriate warnings, and she seeks an award of damages accordingly.” Apparently he also rolled Old Holborn too.

It is a tribute to the presiding Judge Nimmo Smith that the anti smokers were forced to meet ITL on an equal footing and the evidence goes into incredible scientific detail with 38 references to the p53 gene and an astonishing 75 reference to  benzo(a)pyrene for example. This was not one of ASH’s cut and shut, stitch ups with Stephen Williams MP, Anne Milton, and the Department of Health.

The first thing I read in the conclusions was on advertising, Judge Smith said:

“9.3] Mr McTear started smoking no earlier than 1964. I am satisfied that advertising had nothing to do with his reasons for starting to smoke. He started smoking because it was socially acceptable and most young people started smoking as part of becoming adults (para.[4.226]). I am prepared to accept that Mr McTear found it difficult to wean himself off his habit once he had started smoking and in that sense could be described as addicted. I do not accept that he was for this reason unable to stop smoking (paras.[4.229] and [6.202] to [6.208]). The averment that tobacco is more addictive than cocaine is not proved.

[9.4] I am satisfied that at all material times, and in particular by 1964, the general public in the United Kingdom, including smokers and potential smokers, were well aware of the health risks associated with smoking, and in particular of the view that smoking could cause lung cancer (para.[3.1] and Part III generally). I am also satisfied that Mr McTear was aware, in common with the general public, well before 1971 of the publicity about the health risks associated with smoking, and in particular the risk of lung cancer. Therefore by the time he is shown by acceptable evidence to have started smoking the John Player brand of cigarettes he was already aware of the publicity about the health risks. As with many other aspects of his life, he chose to ignore it (para.[4.230]).

[9.5] The pursuer can succeed in this case only if she proves all of the following (paras.[1.5] and [6.29]):

(1) That cigarette smoking can cause lung cancer, in the sense that both in the general population and in any individual case it can be said that but for the smoking of cigarettes lung cancer would probably not have been contracted (general causation).

(2) That cigarette smoking caused Mr McTear’s lung cancer, in the sense that but for his having smoked cigarettes he would probably not have contracted lung cancer (individual causation).

(3) That Mr McTear smoked cigarettes manufactured by ITL for long enough and in sufficient quantity for his smoking of their products to have caused or materially contributed to the development of his lung cancer.

(4) That Mr McTear smoked cigarettes manufactured by ITL because ITL were in breach of a duty of care owed by them to him.

(5) That such breach caused or materially contributed to Mr McTear’s lung cancer either by making at least a material contribution to the exposure which caused his lung cancer or by materially increasing the risk of his contracting lung cancer (fault causation).

[9.6] There is no direct evidence that ITL, as a company, have ever accepted that there was a causal connection between smoking and disease, and the evidence before me does not satisfy me that this is the inference which should be drawn (para.[2.76]). The fact that they have never sought to challenge the public health message, that cigarette smoking does cause lung cancer, does not in my opinion constitute such an admission (para.[2.78]). Accordingly, in my opinion, ITL are entitled to put the pursuer to proof of her averment that cigarette smoking can cause lung cancer (para.[2.80]).

[9.7] I must base my decisions about questions of fact on the evidence, and that alone (para.[1.8]). It is not open to me to take account of any passage in any document, the terms of which were not agreed, and to which reference was not made in the course of the evidence of any witness (para.[1.37]). It is not within judicial knowledge that cigarette smoking can cause lung cancer: this is an issue which I am duty-bound to approach with an open mind and to decide on the basis of the evidence led before me; and the burden of proving it is on the pursuer (para.[1.12]).

[9.8] The law relating to expert witnesses is as discussed at para.[5.17]. Above all, the purpose of leading the evidence of any expert witness should have been to impart to me special knowledge of the subject-matter, including published material, lying within the witness’s field of expertise, so as to enable me to form my own judgment about that subject-matter and the conclusions to be drawn from it.

[9.9] The pursuer relies on epidemiology to prove general causation. I have not been sufficiently instructed by the expert evidence relating to this discipline to be able to form my own judgment as to whether or not this averment is proved. Special knowledge of this subject-matter was not imparted to me, so as to enable me to form my own judgment about it. The pursuer has accordingly failed to prove this averment (paras.[6.149] to [6.171]).

[9.10] In any event, the pursuer has failed to prove individual causation. Epidemiology cannot be used to establish causation in any individual case, and the use of statistics applicable to the general population to determine the likelihood of causation in an individual is fallacious. Given that there are possible causes of lung cancer other than cigarette smoking, and given that lung cancer can occur in a non-smoker, it is not possible to determine in any individual case whether but for an individual’s cigarette smoking he probably would not have contracted lung cancer (paras.[6.172] to [6.185]).

[9.11] In any event there was no lack of reasonable care on the part of ITL at any point at which Mr McTear consumed their products, and the pursuer’s negligence case fails. There is no breach of a duty of care on the part of a manufacturer, if a consumer of the manufacturer’s product is harmed by the product, but the consumer knew of the product’s potential for causing harm prior to consumption of it. The individual is well enough served if he is given such information as a normally intelligent person would include in his assessment of how he wishes to conduct his life, thus putting him in the position of making an informed choice (paras.[7.167] to [7.181]).

[9.12] In any event, there is no basis upon which I could hold it established that, if ITL had not manufactured cigarettes at any material time, so that Mr McTear did not smoke their products and accordingly their products could not have made a material contribution to his contracting lung cancer, it would have made any difference. On the contrary, all the evidence is that Mr McTear would have started smoking when he did, and would have continued to smoke, for the same length of time and in the same quantities, as he in fact did. Fault causation would therefore not in any event be established (paras.[7.182] to [7.183]).

[9.13] On my interpretation of the law relating to the maxim volenti non fit iniuria, and in the circumstances of this case, I would not have been disposed to sustain the fourth plea-in-law for ITL, if the pursuer had otherwise succeeded on the foregoing issues (paras.[7.204] to [7.208]).

[9.14] The damages which I would have awarded, had the pursuer succeeded, would have been £25,000 for her claim for compensation under section 1(4) of the Damages (Scotland) Act 1976 (as amended), £45,000 for her claim under section 2(1) of the Act as Mr McTear’s executrix for solatium for the pain, suffering and loss of the amenities of life experienced by him, and £8,000 for her claim under section 8(1) of the Act for services rendered by her to him during his final illness (paras.[8.20] to [8.22]). With interest to 31 May 2005 the total award of damages would have been £138,823.32 (para.[8.23]).

[9.15] In my opinion therefore, for all the foregoing reasons, the pursuer’s case fails on every issue on which I would have needed to find in her favour were I to hold the defenders liable to her in damages. I accordingly sustain the second and third pleas-in-law for the defenders and assoilzie them from the conclusions of the summons.”

Game set and match to Imperial Tobacco.





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21 Responses to Does smoking cause lung cancer? The Outer House Court Session in Scotland said not necessarily

  1. “I accordingly sustain the second and third pleas-in-law for the defenders and assoilzie them from the conclusions of the summons.”

    That’s what I like about you Brits. You’re not afraid to assoilzie someone who needs assoilziezing!


  2. daveatherton says:

    v. t. 1. (Scots Law) To absolve; to acquit by sentence of court.

    God assoilzie him for the sin of bloodshed.

  3. Parmenion says:

    There’s ONE thing which links smoking to cancer…statistics. But, as we all know, statistics can be oh, so, misleading!
    For example: Male smoking rate;
    USA; around 25% (or less)
    China; around 60%

    All cancers male (age adjusted);
    USA – 407 per 100,000
    China – 205 per 100,000
    (Pfizer 2008)

    Note the USA has less than HALF the male smoking rate of China, BUT nearly DOUBLE the cancer rate!

    The case above, basically has Imperial Tobacco being tried for manslaughter…but at best, the “evidence” which blames smoking for causing lung cancer can best be described as being “circumstantial”

    I think Richard White raises some good points in chapter 5 of his book “Smoke Screens”

  4. Parmenion says:

    assoilzie….sounds kinda gay 🙂

  5. garyk30 says:

    Just a curious set of statistics.

    The American ‘Center for Disease Control’ has data here:

    Table 1
    current smokers = 20.8% of the adult population

    Table 2
    current smokers = 20.9% of the lung cancers

    One can figure out that current smokers have 99.95% of the never-smokers chances of NOT dying from lung cancer.
    Current smokers lung cancer death rate = 7/10,000
    Never-smokers lung cancer death rate = 2/10,000
    9,993/9.998 = 99.95%

    Lung Cancer is not a big health hazard.
    In any given year, only 7/100th of 1% of adults will die from lung cancer.
    (157,000 lung cancer deaths per 230 million adults)

  6. But I believe with the exception of the racketeering lawsuit with Kesler, a court has never given an important victory to the antis neither in US,nor in UK.Even the House of Lords!

    So much for the impartiality of the TC epidemiologists…

    I can imagine if you put a vegan to perform an epidemiological study for the red meat,he will conclude that it is carcinogenic for sure!

    As to whether smoking causes lung cancer, as long as no one so far can tell me how exactly it causes lung cancer,there’s plenty of observations that can be done.From both sides of the story…

    It is certainly a risk factor.But is it a risk of such a large magnitude that allows goverments to set it up as first health priority and discriminate against smokers? Certainly not

    And what about the benefits? Do they counterbalance the negatives?

    Even WHO and pharmaceuticals admit inadvertently the beneficial potential of the tobacco plants/nicotine.Nothing of that benefit comes out of smoking?

    Click to access atlas38.pdf

  7. Tony says:

    The important thing about this case is that it is the only time that the cigarette lung cancer hypothesis has ever been tested in a UK court. Also significant is the fact that the UK’s two foremost anti-smoking ‘experts’ appeared as expert witnesses. Namely Richard Doll and James friend who was the chairman of the UK government’s Scientific Committee on Tobacco and Health.

    Note that the judge specified that:

    The standard of proof is the balance of probabilities, not the higher standard that would be required for acceptance by scientists as proof…

    Here is a quote from the Judgement which I think is indicative of the general attitude of the anti-smokers:

    [6.163] …
    I cannot believe that any scientist of any standing would have reached a view, either in favour of or against Doll and Hill, on the basis of a reading of no more than their conclusions. Yet I have no basis for saying why those who were persuaded were right to be persuaded, and those who were not persuaded were wrong. A mere head count will not do.
    [6.164] This is particularly so when regard is had to Sir Richard Doll’s evidence about those who disagreed with him. No attempt was made by him to explain why it was that they were wrong to disagree with him. They were all, on the face of it, people of some degree of professional standing who had put up reasoned objections to his conclusions. A reasoned response would have served to show why they were wrong. Yet Sir Richard relied before me principally on ad hominem arguments of a kind which is surely unacceptable in rational academic debate. His comments about Fisher may be read at paras.[5.215] to [5.221], about Berkson at paras.[5.222] to [5.228], about Seltzer at paras.[5.244] to [5.248], about Yerushalmy at paras.[5.229] to [5.232], about Eysenck at paras.[5.233] to [5.237] and [5.254], about Burch at paras.[5.239] to [5.243] and [5.250] to [5.251], about Oldham at para.[5.253], about Stern at para.[5.255], about Gwynne Jones at para[5.256], about Feinstein at paras.[5.258] to [5.259], about Passey at paras.[5.260] to [5.261], about Little at para.[5.273], about Tokuhata at para.[5.274], about Hueper at paras.[5.277] to [5.280] and about Rosenblat at paras.[5.268] to [5.269]. I can find little in these passages beyond assertions that those who disagreed with Sir Richard were wrong, coupled from time to time with epithets which I quite frankly found it unbecoming for a man of his stature to have chosen to use. If Sir Richard succeeded in winning over any of those whom he had previously failed to persuade, it cannot have been with these words…


  8. c777 says:

    I have known of two people who got lung cancer, both smoked.
    One died, one survived.
    A shame .
    I don’t like to say this but they were both Asthmatic before they contracted it.
    I have never personally known any other smoker who contracted it.
    I think it is quite a rare disease.

  9. Mikef317 says:

    This has been written too quickly, but….

    Zealots almost always ignore critiques of their “facts.” In court, however, they must answer questions, and convincing a judge isn’t as easy as sending a press release to a scientifically illiterate reporter.

    I can’t know what you know, so first, let me ask some questions.

    Have you ever read even one of the Surgeon General’s reports? (Skimming the conclusions doesn’t count.) There are 30 reports, some over 1,000 pages long. (And do you think your doctor has ever read even one of these?)

    Have you read any of the American Cancer Society, British Doctors, etc. underlying studies that allegedly “proved” that smoking causes lung cancer?

    Have you read critiques of the above? Some funded (horrors!) by The Merchants of Death, but many not, and all in contrast to “pure” scientists funded by the government (public health) and “charities” like the American Cancer Society.

    If you’ve read even a modest fraction of the above, and still think the evidence against smoking is “sound,” I would more than respectfully disagree – I’d tell you (and argue the case) that the U.S. Surgeon General’s reports (etc.) are junk science.

    Smoking is said to cause over a dozen types of cancer, and emphysema and bronchitis, plus heart disease and stroke, and those are just some of the fatal diseases. Smoking is also said to cause blindness (macular degeneration), hearing loss, erectile dysfunction, multiple sclerosis, psoriasis, wrinkled skin, snoring, and – my own favorite – “apple-shaped weight gain.” There are easily 100 diseases linked to smoking.

    Plus the diseases “caused” by secondhand and thirdhand smoke….

    Smoke is the most lethal substance in the universe. (What else causes such carnage?) That’s cigarette smoke, by the way – one of the embarrassments of the “smoking causes” theory is that the statistical association between tobacco and disease generally doesn’t apply to cigars and pipes.

    It is easy to get caught up in a debate about a single disease like lung cancer. The facts to be explained, however, include 100 + diseases. (Unlike the secondhand smoke nonsense, with primary smoking you do find statistical associations with disease after disease – including “diseases” [causes of death] like suicide and murder.)

    Re “whether the correlation is causal or…confounded,” in the Surgeon General reports, all cases of lung cancer in smokers are attributed to smoking; confounders are ignored. (Typical anti tobacco “science.”) Also LC deaths “caused” by smoking are overstated because the smoker LC deaths include metastasized LC. Also, regardless of “cause,” less than 10% of people who smoke die of lung cancer.

    The case against primary smoking is entirely statistical. Despite decades of trying, other than mouse painting experiments (“…the wrong material, in the wrong form, in the wrong concentration to the wrong tissue of the wrong animal…” R.C. Hockett, 1968), attempts to create disease in animals by exposure to smoke have been a bust. From the start (1950, the first studies on lung cancer) the theory assumed that chemicals in tobacco caused disease; sixty years (and 100 “smoking related” diseases) later, no one has identified any chemical that causes even one of the smoking related diseases. (Reliably, as in viruses cause influenza – and by the way, influenza is a smoking related disease.)

    As I said above, I don’t know what you know, but here are some links I’ve found informative.

    SG reports can be downloaded at the Center for Disease Control

    For a statistical critique of the reports, read Burch: He’s talking about the 1982 report which uses the same “logic” as 1964. (As is typical, Brownlee’s 1965 paper [cited by Burch] is still – 17 years later – ignored by the SG.)

    For the other side, Lilienfeld on Burch:

    Burch’s response:

    If you find Burch persuasive, try Brownlee: T. Sterling (oft paid by the tobacco industry) is also worth a read And, what the hell, back in the beginning, R. Fisher

    Also look at the CATCH debate on Frank Davis’ blog.

    The case against smoking is not quite as definitive as most people believe.

    P.S.: You didn’t say how long you had to prepare for the symposium. If you find the above links new and informative, they’re just the tip of the iceberg. This comment should give you my e-mail address if you’d like some more.

  10. Rose says:

    “This is particularly so when regard is had to Sir Richard Doll’s evidence about those who disagreed with him. No attempt was made by him to explain why it was that they were wrong to disagree with him. ”

    There does seem to be a shadowy trail of bodies, both of patients and scientists beside Doll’s career.

    Heres one.

    Dr Alice Stewart

    “I interviewed Doll while writing about Stewart, the physician and epidemiologist who discovered that the practice of X-raying pregnant women, which was common in the Forties and Fifties, doubled the chance of a childhood cancer. Doll and Stewart moved in the same Oxbridge circles, sat on the same committees and editorial boards. Both started out as physicians, then moved into epidemiology after the war, each making major discoveries in the Fifties that helped shape epidemiology so it came to include cancer as well as infectious diseases. But after Stewart went public with the dangers of radiation, she plummeted to obscurity, while Doll, credited with discovering the link between lung cancer and smoking, rocketed to fame and a knighthood.

    Immediately after Stewart published her findings, Doll launched a study to prove her wrong. For nearly two decades, he succeeded in keeping her findings from being accepted, thereby allowing fetal X-raying to continue (one doesn’t like to think how many cancers that may have caused). This was the decade when the arms race was at its height and the US and UK governments were reassuring us we could survive all-out nuclear war; nobody wanted to hear that radiation was as dangerous as Stewart claimed.

    But she dug in her heels and built an extensive database, the Oxford Survey of Childhood Cancer, that established beyond a doubt that she was right. Yet when Doll came to Oxford as Regius Professor, in 1969, he announced (publicly) that “there was little there in the way of epidemiology research,” and made her so unwelcome that she took a position at another”

    “Although long regarded as a pariah by the medical/scientific establishment for her controversial views on radiation effects, Stewart became known to many as a visionary who worked indefatigably to advance the understanding of radiation health effects and cancer etiology.”

    “Stewart’s findings sparked vehement attacks not only from the medical profession–which had become enamored of X-ray technology, using it frequently–but also from the nuclear industry, which had long assured the public that low-level radiation was harmless”

    “The incidence of child leukaemias was increasing and in 1955, it was suggested that there might be an environmental cause.Alice Stewart thought that the mothers might remember something the doctors did not, so she interviewed them and rapidly saw the correlation with x rays, which she demonstrated statistically. X-rays were medicine’s new toy and were being used for everything from examining the position of the foetus to treating acne; even shoe shops had X-ray machines where customers could see how their footwear fitted.

    This was at the height of the arms race, when the British and US governments were trying to build up public trust in the friendly atom and did not want people to get the idea that low-dose radiation could kill their children.”

  11. Rose says:

    I only remembered Richard Doll, when I accidentally inhaled some cement powder while building a wall and wondered what “smoking-related” disease that could give me.

    He seemed a nice man and his smoking and lung cancer was the only thing I didn’t believe because of the plant chemistry, I believed him when he was wheeled out to assure us that man-made chemicals were harmless, that in the furore of PVC killing workers wasn’t true so I could still wear my PVC coat without regret.

    When I finally looked him up, I was surprised to discover that he had died the year before the Smoking Ban, left his papers to the Wellcome Library and all hell had broken loose.

    The more I read the worse it got.

    Intervention in Vietnam inquiry

    “In 1985, while Sir Richard was a paid consultant for Monsanto, he stepped into the debate over the herbicides Agent Orange and dioxin, which had been sprayed from the air in the Vietnam war. An Australian royal commission was investigating whether the herbicides, made by Monsanto, had caused cancers in Australian personnel involved in the war. Sir Richard offered his unsolicited views in a letter to Justice Phillip Evatt, who headed the inquiry, and gave Agent Orange a clean bill of health.”

    “Lennart Hardell, the professor in the department of oncology at University Hospital who has now become the leading critic of Sir Richard’s industry funding, had also offered evidence to the inquiry. Professor Hardell considered Agent Orange a cancer hazard, but Sir Richard warned the commission not to place much value on his work. Many of his published statements, wrote Sir Richard, “were exaggerated or not supportable and … there were many opportunities for bias to have been introduced in the collection of his data. His conclusions cannot be sustained and in my opinion, his work should no longer be cited as scientific evidence.”

    “Sir Richard Doll, the celebrated epidemiologist who established that smoking causes lung cancer, was receiving a consultancy fee of $1,500 a day in the mid-1980s from Monsanto, then a major chemical company and now better known for its GM crops business.

    While he was being paid by Monsanto, Sir Richard wrote to a royal Australian commission investigating the potential cancer-causing properties of Agent Orange, made by Monsanto and used by the US in the Vietnam war. Sir Richard said there was no evidence that the chemical caused cancer.

    Documents seen by the Guardian reveal that Sir Richard was also paid a £15,000 fee by the Chemical Manufacturers Association and two other major companies, Dow Chemicals and ICI, for a review that largely cleared vinyl chloride, used in plastics, of any link with cancers apart from liver cancer – a conclusion with which the World Health Organisation disagrees. Sir Richard’s review was used by the manufacturers’ trade association to defend the chemical for more than a decade.”

    Naturally there was uproar

    Leading scientists leap to the defence of ‘corrupt’ Doll

    “Some of Britain’s most senior scientists have angrily denounced suggestions that Sir Richard Doll, who proved the link between smoking and lung cancer, had deliberately failed to disclose financial dealings with the chemicals industry.
    The scientists said that tens of millions of people owed their lives and health to studies pioneered by Sir Richard. “It is with dismay that we now hear allegations against him that he cannot rebut for himself,” the scientists say in an open letter.”

    If Doll had kept them looking in the wrong direction for all these years and their work was based on his, with lifestyle blamed for what was really industrial injury, I’m not surprised they were alarmed.

    • Klaus K says:

      Rose, did you read this paper? Lennart Hardell et al, 2006:

      “In spite of receiving copies of articles that revealed the manipulations of scientific facts in the Monsanto submission [Monsanto Australia Limited, 1985] and a rebuttal of the
      Commission’s findings [Axelson, 1986] Doll never changed his position. The questions to be asked are first, whether the now disclosed facts that he was at that time secretly a highly paid Monsanto consultant perhaps influenced his statements.

      Second, how did Doll’s hidden consultancies influence his other work?”

      Click to access article.SecretTies.pdf

      • Rose says:

        Thank you, Klaus.

        “Second, how did Doll’s hidden consultancies influence his other work?”

        Similarly, it would appear.

        Burying The Truth, the orginal Ecologist investigation into Monsanto and Brofiscin Quarry

        “On three occasions Monsanto dispatched the late Sir Richard Doll to meet with Gowan. A scientific luminary of the day, who has latterly been exposed as publicly stating chemical compounds such as Agent Orange were safe while secretly being in the pay of Monsanto, Doll told Gowan that PCBs were safe and that Gowan didn’t know what he was talking about.”

        Brofiscin erupts

        In 2003 Brofiscin quarry suddenly erupted, disgorging an acrid pall over the area, and discoloured water into the environment, for weeks. Faced with widespread public anxiety about what was buried in the quarry, the Environment Agency launched an investigation and thus the appeal for information that Gowan responded to.”

        Injurywatch discovers secret payments for anti-smoking cancer-link by Oxford academic Sir Richard Doll by asbestos and chemical industry

        Cloud Over Sir Richard

        “Sir Richard was the force behind the National Radiation Protection Board’s insistence that there is no evidence to support the claims by veterans of the Pacific Island tests more than half a century ago.

        His findings, that the series of leukaemias, cancers, skin diseases, deformities in veterans’ children, early death and desperate illness was not caused by radiation fallout from the tests was seized gratefully by ministers in their attempt to defend the indefensible.

        After all, Sir Richard was unbiased. Incorruptible. Untouchable. Even though his advice flew in the face of a battery of experts who thought the opposite. So much so that the US, Australia and New Zealand – whose servicemen also witnessed the tests – have accepted responsibility for the life-threatening risks to which they were exposed.”–98487-18240404/
        Link no longer works.

        Nuclear veterans told: No case for compensation – 2009

        “Ministers tell servicemen who witnessed 1950s test explosions they should have claimed years ago

        “Ministers have been accused of blocking compensation claims brought by hundreds of nuclear test veterans who believe they developed cancers and other illnesses after being forced to witness atomic bomb experiments in the 1950s and ’60s.

        Despite pay-outs to former servicemen in the US, France and China, Britain has told its veterans there is no case for offering compensation, and that there is no scientific justification for a full investigation into birth defects suffered by the veterans’ children and grandchildren”

  12. Mikef317 says:

    Parmenion, 2/16 at 13:57:

    It’s 7 AM in New York and I haven’t been to bed. Don’t expect links. Or coherence.

    The 1964 Surgeon General’s report has a graph (based I believe on a study by Doll) that looks at per capita cigarette (or tobacco?) consumption and lung cancer death rates for 11 countries.

    Three low consumption countries have low LC death rates. Three high consumption countries have high LC death rates. And three in the middle are in the middle. Looks like a link.

    Forget that there are more than 11 countries, and that not all show this relationship (cherry picked data, anyone?), what are the two exceptions in the SG’s graph?

    The U.S. and England. (If you’re going to cherry pick data, you can’t exclude these two.)

    The English smoked half as much as Americans but had double the rate of lung cancer.

    How to explain this?


    Taxes were higher in England. To save money, the English smoked their cigarettes to a shorter length than Americans. The idea was that the length of the cigarette acted as a filter; if you smoked to a shorter length you would get more of the “carcinogens” in smoke. (Am I the only person in the world crazy enough to read studies that measure the length of cigarette butts?)

    So the English smoked half as much as Americans but got double the amount of lung cancer. Very easily explained by the length of cigarette butts. Who could argue with that?

    And yes, the observation that Asians / Orientals get LC less frequently keeps popping up. Japan is commonly cited.

    Goodnight, all. I need some sleep. And maybe a drink (or several) before I go to bed. And a few cigarettes, too.

  13. Klaus K says:

    “Obviously as the proportions of deaths from cancer among smoking and non-smoking asbestos workers are the same, there is something peculiar about the excess death due to lung
    cancer among smoking asbestos workers.
    We suggest the obvious interpretation that the diagnosing physician knowing of the smoking habits of an asbestos worker, will diagnose a primary lung cancer-if the worker smokes, but will make a more thorough examination as to the source of cancer when the asbestos worker does not smoke.
    Also, because the conviction is so strong that smoking is the cause of lung cancer, non-smoking asbestos workers may be diagnosed as having primary cancer from some site other than the lung, in line with prevailing opinions.”

    Theodor D. Sterling, Ph .D. Professor, Simon Fraser University, Canada. 1977

  14. harleyrider1978 says:

    There was another LC court case a few months back where that judge said nope it aint proven and kicked the LC defendants case out. I dont have the link but its out there too. If you cant prove it,its just hearsay evidence to start with and it brings to lite a serious flaw of late in the judicial system. That circumstantial evidence and or hearsay type evidence can convict. Its like having no dead body just a missing person and claiming so and so had motive because they said theyd kill em! A threat or implied is not evidence of a crime. I cant convict as a juror unless I see factual proof of a crime. With these claims against tobacco with no toxicological proof of causation I am happy to see the courts finally making proper decisions and toss these ludicrous frivilous lawsuits out of court. It may just be enuf to get the junk scientists like repace and others on the road to jail for creating a fear where none was ever proven except by their own created junk science! Lets push the fact theres no proof as Ive done for quite some time,force the nazis hand make em put up or shut up.

  15. Tony says:


    You might also find this study of interest. It examines carcinogens in cigarette smoke and finds them insufficient to be a cause of cancer. Last sentence is the key one:

    there is little reason to be confident that total removal of the currently measured human lung carcinogens would reduce the incidence of lung cancer among smokers by any noticeable amount.

    It wasn’t sponsored by BT either.

  16. Fredrik Eich says:

    here is a study showing a massive rise in lung cancer for never smokers. of course, this doesn’t
    mean that smoking does not cause lung cancer but if the rise of lung cancer is because
    of the rise of the use of cigarettes, it rather begs the question what caused the rise for never smokers? And how do we know it’s not the same cause?

  17. Pingback: Does smoking cause lung cancer? The Outer House Court Session … | Lung Cancer

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