Letter: Smokers who sue

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The Independent Online
SMOKING causes lung cancer - there's no question about that. And it causes other cancers and heart disease and diseases of the blood vessels too. But then alcohol causes cirrhosis and sunbathing causes skin cancer and we don't find people taking brewers and travel agents to court ("The story tobacco firms don't want to hear", 13 February).

As a doctor, I'd be delighted to see tobacco banned altogether. The reduction in human misery and NHS expenditure would be immense. But the risks of smoking and its addictive nature have been well known for 35 years, and still people have chosen to smoke. Tobacco companies are not responsible for people smoking, any more than bakeries are responsible for obesity or car manufacturers for dangerous driving.

Of course I am sorry for people with smoking-related diseases - my colleagues and I spend much of our time and much of the country's money trying to help them. But let them accept some responsibility for their own lives, and not try to shift the blame onto those who supplied what they wanted.

HUGH J THOMSON

Birmingham

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