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April 1955

Smoking and Cancer: A Doctor's Report.

AMA Arch Intern Med. 1955;95(4):629-630. doi:10.1001/archinte.1955.00250100135017

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In the great hubbub and confusion attending studies on cancer of the lung and its possible relationship to prolonged and excessive cigarette smoking and inhalation we have elegantly illustrated the reciprocal relationship between fact and passion, against the background of scandalous indifference of the multitudes making a livelihood from the tobacco business. Unfortunately Ochsner's book does little to clear the smoky fumes of opinion and dialectic enthusiastically adding to an impressive and growing body of data which fall in the category of probability. Instead of a dispassionate and factual approach to a problem of almost excessive complexity, there is profound faith in the already accepted conclusion. There is failure to look critically at the difference between testimony and evidence; failure to distinguish between evidence and proof; failure to reckon on the role of multiple causes in cancer of the lung, and, finally, assuming that there were no systematic but overlooked

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