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June 1, 1984

Smoking and Death Rates

Author Affiliations

From the Imperial Cancer Research Fund, Cancer Epidemiology and Clinical Trials Unit, University of Oxford, England.

JAMA. 1984;251(21):2854-2857. doi:10.1001/jama.1984.03340450070030

In 1958, Cuyler Hammond and Daniel Horn1,2 published two articles in consecutive issues of The Journal that made outstanding contributions to medical science. The first article described the remarkable enterprise undertaken by the American Cancer Society to determine the effects of smoking and reported the results in terms of the total mortality from all causes associated with different smoking habits.1 The second, which is reproduced in this issue of The Journal, described the spectrum of diseases associated with smoking and the extent to which the differences in mortality in the different groups of smokers might actually be due to differences in what they had smoked.2

Hammond and Horn's study broke new ground in two ways. First, it showed that it was possible to elicit useful information about personal habits from as many as 200,000 persons, follow them up for several years, and obtain information about their causes