Letter: Smoking Kate is not a model to follow

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The Independent Online
Sir: While I support the calls by Robert Haward and others for a ban on tobacco advertising and an increase in taxes on cigarettes (Letters, 7 October), I am disappointed to see yet again false claims on the effects of smoking being used to support these proposals by people who should know better.

Dr Haward asserts that 'it is estimated that 111,000 people die every year in the UK as a result of smoking tobacco'. This estimate (elsewhere quoted at 100,000 and 110,000) actually relates to deaths from smoking-related diseases. In other words, from diseases that can also be caused by factors other than smoking. Further, it has yet to be proven epidemiologically that smoking actually causes lung cancer. So far, all we have is statistical evidence showing that smokers are many times more likely to die from the disease than are non- smokers. Although I personally am prepared to accept this evidence, I know of many smokers who await more convincing evidence before trying to give up the weed.

By the way, is the rate of smoking among doctors still higher than the national average rate?

Yours faithfully

HENRY PAUL

Hampden Park, East Sussex

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