Recalling Sir Richard Doll
Sir Richard Doll died July 24 at
The study was begun in 1951, and was one of the earliest prospective epidemiological studies. Doll and Hill wrote to every registered physician in the
It is interesting to recall how the tobacco industry responded to studies like the British Doctors Study. They disputed the scientific significance of the link, often by deploying friendly (i.e., paid) consultants. Action on Smoking and Health cites a variety of fascinating industry documents documenting this – for example, Project Whitecoat, in which Philip Morris paid a group of scientific witnesses to obfuscate the second-hand smoke issue. They also argued that regulations on smoking would devastate the economy.
Does that sound familiar? The parallels between the smoking-and-health “controversy” and the climate change “controversy” are striking. And, in that they illustrate our continuing failure to learn from history, downright scary.