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October 4, 1965

Morphological Constitution and Smoking

JAMA. 1965;194(1):98. doi:10.1001/jama.1965.03090140105040

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To the Editor:—  Unfortunately the article by Livson and Stewart (192: 806 [June 7] 1965) on the question of morphological constitution and smoking has failed to make a valid contribution to the subject. It neither provides "further" sound data nor a constructive "evaluation" of the problem.The authors, having pooled the data of two separate populations, compared cigarette smokers and nonsmokers with respect to five anthropometric measures and found "no statistically significant morphological difference between these groups."Naively, they treated their basic data as if they were dealing with a single morphologically homogeneous population from which they could properly draw smoking cohorts. But this is palpably not true. If they had taken the necessary initial precaution of examining the original populations prior to pooling, they would have found (as this writer has determined) the two parent series (Oakland and Guidance) to be morphologically different. Thus, only if the percentages of

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