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November 8, 2000

Estimating the Numbers of Smoking-Related Deaths—Reply

Author Affiliations

Stephen J.LurieMD, PhD, Senior EditorIndividualAuthorPhil B.FontanarosaMD, Executive Deputy EditorIndividualAuthor

JAMA. 2000;284(18):2319-2320. doi:10.1001/jama.284.18.2317

In Reply: The main points of our article are that cigarette smoking kills an extraordinary and unacceptable number of people in the United States each year and that these deaths cannot be attributed to other characteristics of smokers rather than smoking itself. Dr Levy prefers the estimate of 203,200 proposed by studies funded by the tobacco industry1 rather than the approximately 418,000 estimated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.2 Either number of deaths is unacceptable. The issues raised by Levy must be debated, however, because his views3 have been publicized widely in the lay press and submitted as court evidence by the tobacco industry to illustrate how it has been wronged by the health care community.4