Dr Keith Ball: Anti-smoking campaigner
Saturday 15 March 2008
Keith Ball, a consultant cardiologist at the Middlesex Hospital, was an early campaigner against smoking and was among those who persuaded the Royal College of Physicians to expose the dangers of tobacco, leading to the 1962 report Smoking and Health. He collaborated with Tom Hurst, Secretary of the Royal Infirmary, Edinburgh, in galvanising the National Society of Non-Smokers as a campaigning lay group, and when Hurst went on to form the International Network Towards Smoke-Free Hospitals, he supported this too. Ball was co-founder in 1971 of the group Action on Smoking and Health (Ash) and in 1987 of the National Heart Forum.
Ball was a dentist's son. Born in 1915, he went to the Middlesex Hospital Medical School from Bishop's Stortford School and became a senior registrar at Stoke Mandeville Hospital, returning to the Middlesex as a senior registrar during the London Blitz. Volunteering for Unrra, the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Authority, in 1944, he worked after the war in Germany among the refugees and survivors of enforced labour and concentration camps.
With this eye-opener to the social aspects of disease, he returned to be consultant physician at the Central Middlesex Hospital, and to push the preventive side of medicine, against the prevailing mood of many colleagues. He did have allies, notably Dr Horace Joules, superintendent of the Central Middlesex, and was helped in his campaigning by his sense of humour. Among his many papers, "Deception among Smokers", published in the British Medical Journal in 1978, was a classic.
Retiring from clinical practice at 60, Ball moved laterally to an academic career, becoming a senior lecturer in community medicine at the Middlesex Hospital Medical School, London University. In 1986, in the high-altitude Indian state of Jammu-Kasmir, Ball was one of the founders of Ladakh Action on Smoking and Health and helped to create the Ladakh Institute for Prevention to help the fast-changing pastoral community in the Himalayas avoid the diseases of industrialised nations.
As a young doctor Ball had been rejected for military service because of tuberculosis, but at his 80th birthday party blew out all 80 candles.
Keith Percy Ball, medical practitioner and anti-smoking campaigner: born Bishop's Stortford, Hertfordshire 8 December 1915; OBE 1985; married (three daughters, and one son deceased); died London 10 January 2008.
- 1 Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Weather bomb in pictures: Storms cuts power for tens of thousands – and snow is on the way
Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
Russell Brand was rendered speechless on Question Time by this man
Fury at Airbus after it hints the super-jumbo may be mothballed
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits 'record low' as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
Pakistan school attack live: Taliban kill at least 132 children in 'horrifying' massacre
Sony hack: Angelina Jolie branded 'seriously out of her mind' in further embarrassing leaked email saga
Panic Saturday: 13 million Britons spend £1.2bn – while 13 million others across the country live in poverty unable to afford food
£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity to join...
£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We have an excellent role for a...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: An IT Support Analyst is required to join the ...
Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: SURREY - An outstanding high level opportunity...