Sir George Godber and passive smoking, update hat tip Rose

Rose in the comments has nailed it.  It seems that Godber never said these words verbatim: “..foster an atmosphere where it was perceived that active smokers would injure those around them, especially their family and infants or young children who would be exposed involuntarily to the smoke in the air.” However is a very reasonable summary of words he did say. Rose picks up the story.

“The 3rd World Conference on Smoking and Health, June 2-5, 1975.”

The Worldwide Campaign Against Smoking” Sir George E. Godber Chairman, Expert Committee on Smoking and Health World Health Organization Text of speech includes at the end of page 6 (7 on the pdf) –

“The fact that smoking by the mother during pregnancy is a material danger to the fetus. The knowledge that exposure to involuntary secondary smoking may cause an increase in carbon monoxide and even nicotine content of the blood of non-smokers or that the incidence of respiratory infection in the first year of life is increased in the infants whose parents smoke is probably not understood. The message that the penalty for cigarette smoking begins to be paid from the very earliest stage of life and is not something postponed until old age is certainly not well appreciated. The finding, most recently reported by Russell, that non-smokers in rooms have demonstrable increases in the circulating nicotine in their blood reinforces the importance of avoiding exposure of non-smokers to secondary smoking. The full story is set out in the report of WHO’s Expert Committee which is available to you here and nothing will be gained by my attempting to summarise it to you know.”

http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/nub2aa00/pdf

 

Passive Smoking How Great A Hazard

 

“The generation, interpretation, and use of scientific and medical information about ETS has been influenced, and probably distorted, by a “social movement” to shift the emphasis on the adverse health effects of smoking in the active smoker to an implied health risk for the nonsmoker. The focus of this movement, initiated by Sir George Godber of the World Health Organization 15 years ago, was and is to emphasize that active cigarette smokers injure those around them, including their families and, especially, any infants that might be exposed involuntarily to ETS. By fostering the perception that secondhand smoke is unhealthy for nonsmokers, active smoking has become an undesirable and an antisocial behavior.”

Looks like a reasonable assessment of Sir George Godber’s actual words and activities to me.

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12 Responses to Sir George Godber and passive smoking, update hat tip Rose

  1. garyk30 says:

    Ah yes, SHS ‘KILLS’ and smoking is a bigger ‘KILLER’ of smokers.

    Just suppose the smokers had never smoked.
    Using data from Doll’s 50 year study of doctors’ mortality, about 98% of the smokers’ deaths would still occur.

    Mortality in relation to smoking: 50 years observations on male British doctors
    Doll et al
    http://www.bmj.com/highwire/filestream/400720/field_highwire_article_pdf/0/bmj.38142.554479.AE.full.pdf

    Table 1, page 3
    This table lists the deaths from the 8 disease groups that are said to be caused by smoking and the total deaths.
    Non-smokers have 16.3 deaths from the smoking caused diseases out of a total of 19.38 deaths.
    ( that is 84%)
    Current smokers have 30.41 deaths from the smoking caused diseases out of a total of 35.4.
    (that is 86%)

    84 is 98% of 86!!!!!!!

    Another amusing bit of data from this table:

    Current smokers of 25 or more cigarettes per day had a death rate from the diseases ’caused’ by smoking of about 83%.

    That is slightly LESS than the never-smokers!!!!!
    Gary K.

  2. garyk30 says:

    The dose makes the poison.
    From the above table:
    Rate of death from the smoking ’caused’ diseases.

    Smokers of 1-14 cigarettes per day = 85%

    Smokers of 25+ cigarettes per day = 83%

    I doubt that any anti-smoker would claim that Sir R.Doll is a shll for Big Tobacco.

    Gary K.

  3. garyk30 says:

    The dose makes the poison.
    From the above table:
    Rate of death from the smoking ’caused’ diseases.

    All other neoplasms(cancers) are 74% of the cancer deaths.
    All other neoplasms:
    Smokers of 1-14 cigarettes per day = 14.3%

    Smokers of 25+ cigarettes per day = 11.9%

    Antis will claim that this is because the heavy smokers have more lung cancer deaths.

    But; that would only make a difference, if and only if the cancers were 100% of the deaths.

    Gary K.

  4. garyk30 says:

    All other neoplasms were 17% of the never-smoker deaths.

    Smokers may lose part of a lung;but, never-smokers are more apt to lose part of a brain!!!!

    Gary K.

  5. Rose is correct, and I must take some responsibility for the problems arising regarding the original quote. Back around ten years ago I got the quotation from a secondary source and then had it confirmed by a third source that I believed was on good authority. It was not until several years later that I was able to access the original article by Huber in Consumer Research (?) magazine and discover that the quotation was not as accurate as I’d assumed. While it was not outright misleading in terms of overall intent, the wording change was still unacceptable in terms of accuracy and I have since made sure to correct it when describing the conference.

    I now generally phrase it along these lines which I feel to be a more accurate representation:

    “Sir George Godber’s 1975 Conference on “smoking and health” promoted the concept that to get people to quit smoking they had to convince people that smokers were hurting the people around them, including their families and their children”

    or

    The fear of secondhand smoke is the basic foundational pillar that has driven smoking bans since Godber’s 1975 “World Conference on Smoking and Health.” The overall guideline from the panels and speakers at that conference was one advising Antismokers that to successfully eliminate smoking it would first be essential to foster a perception that would “emphasize that active cigarette smokers injure those around them, including their families and, especially, any infants that might be exposed involuntarily to ETS.”[i] [ii]

    [i] Huber et al. “Smoke and Mirrors.” Regulation 16:3:44. 1993

    [ii] http://tobaccodocuments.org/pm/2046323437-3484.html

    and, from [ii]

    “The focus of this movement, initiated by Sir George Godber of the World Health Organization 15 years ago, was and is to emphasize that active cigarette smokers injure those around them, including their families and, especially, any infants that might be exposed involuntarily to ETS. By fostering the perception that secondhand smoke is unhealthy for nonsmokers, active smoking has become an undesirable and an antisocial behavior. The cigarette smoker has become ever more segregated and isolated. This ETS social movement has been successful in … ”

    – MJM

  6. garyk30 says:

    Just a bit more.
    CVD deaths were 55% of total mortality.
    CardioVascular Disease(CVD) deaths as a percentage of total mortality:

    Never-smokers = 58%

    1-14 cigarettes/day = 55.5%

    15-24 cigs/day = 54%

    25+ cigs/day = 48%

    The dose makes the poison.
    The more cigs smoked, the lower the rate of CVD deaths.

    Gary K.

  7. Rose says:

    Of course that extract is from Sir George Godber’s speech at the Waldorf Astoria for the The 3rd World Conference on Smoking and Health,not the World Health Organisation in Geneva.

    “The full story is set out in the report of WHO’s Expert Committee which is available to you here and nothing will be gained by my attempting to summarise it to you now.”

    This may be the report

    SMOKING AND ITS EFFECTS ON HEALTH
    World Health Organization
    Geneva
    1975

    “Report of a WHO Expert Committee on Smoking and its Effects on Health met in Geneva from 9 to 14 December 1974”

    Members
    Includes Sir George Godber, Cambridge, England (Chairman)

    Unfortunately page 16 “Involuntary Exposure to Smoke” is missing along with several others.
    http://tobaccodocuments.org/rjr/502014384-4410.html?zoom=750&ocr_position=above_foramatted&start_page=1&end_page=27

    Report of WHO expert Committee Smoking and its Effects on Health Technical Report Series 568 1975

    Organising a control programme

    “To be successful, a programme for the control of smoking needs the support of the health and teaching professions and of opinion leaders generally. At the outset, a central standing committee or similar body should set up to plan, co-ordinate, and supervise the work. This committee must show that the problem is serious enough to warrant the allocation of the necessary funds and staff for a control programme.In particular it should draw attention to the high prevalence among cigarette smokers of the diseases most likely to result from smoking”
    http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/btj70g00;jsessionid=7C8CFD80D8280EEC32A28C9024374835

    The birth of Tobacco Control?

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