To the Editor.
—The Editorial by Dr Rennie1 is disquieting and disheartening. Readers were exposed to lack of balance, selective use of data, and the very type of bias that Rennie accuses the tobacco industry of practicing.At face value, Rennie addresses whether to publish letters critical of a study on environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) published in JAMA. Reason suggests that the answer lies in the content of the letters.Rennie gives a nod to content, but focuses attention on the source and subsequent use of letters as factors in determining whether to publish them. Presuming the information offered has scientific merit, this approach—calling into question the veracity of authors, prima facie, who work with the tobacco industry and weighing subsequent potential use of letters to the editor—has no place in a medical journal.It appears that Rennie's commentary is not about selecting letters to publish. Rather, it is
Parrish SC. Smoke and Letters. JAMA. 1994;271(20):1575. doi:10.1001/jama.1994.03510440035020