Letter: A deadly industry

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The Independent Online
Sir: As a chest physician, I am appalled that Baroness Thatcher should be considering becoming a consultant to the tobacco industry ('Thatcher condemned on tobacco consultancy', 20 July). Every working day I treat people who are dying from lung diseases caused by smoking. Not only do I have to help patients face up to the fact that their addiction is killing them, I also have to do what I can to support their families.

New patients tell me how they wish they had never started smoking and how, even though they know they are dying, they struggle to give up the habit. Tobacco is highly addictive and the industry knows this. It actively recruits teenagers through advertising because, once recruited, they will be customers for life.

Before making a final decision, perhaps Lady Thatcher should see the suffering of patients and their families in my clinic. Maybe then she will see the immorality of accepting money from an industry whose product kills.

Yours faithfully,



Doctors for Tobacco Law

Kings College Hospital

London, SE5