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There is a massive body of evidence, derived from many scientific disciplines, that tobacco is addictive and kills smokers. Up to half of those who continue to smoke cigarettes will die prematurely from diseases caused by smoking, half of these deaths occurring in middle age.1 Peto et al2 have calculated that of the 1.25 billion people now living in developed countries, 250 million will, if present tobacco consumption patterns are maintained, die from tobacco. With 3 million deaths worldwide each year currently due to tobacco use, the consequences of tobacco to the public health have been, and will continue to be, staggering, and the importance of bringing this hazard under control is correspondingly great.

It is against this background that JAMA publishes several highly unusual articles this week.

The Documents  On May 12, 1994, Stanton A. Glantz, PhD, a professor of medicine in the Division of Cardiology at

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