Letter: Battle of smoke

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The Independent Culture
Battle of smoke

Sir: Ron P Levy (letter, 13 October) accuses me of hiding behind "the myth that adults take up smoking of their own free will". He challenges me to name "one person who has taken up smoking while in their adult years". The government-sponsored General Household Survey, published this year, reports that 35 per cent of those who smoke regularly started over the age of 18.

He claims that the size of the market for aids indicates that smoking is addictive. May I remind him that 11 million people in Britain have given up smoking in the last 20 years, and that as Dr Daniel Inde of the Washington School of Medicine told a meeting of lung cancer specialists in Dublin in 1997, 90 per cent of smokers who quit do so without "outside" help?

The tobacco industry does not want children to smoke and will continue to work with government in preventing their access to cigarettes. But society's cause is not helped by false accusations and inaccurate assumptions.

JOHN CARLISLE

Tobacco Manufacturers' Association

London SW1

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