Further Information

The original 1964 US Surgeon General Report on active smoking | US Department of Health, Education and Welfare
Article Published: 1964

Type: Official report
Published By: US Department of Health, Education and Welfare

Further Information

This is the original Surgeon General Report of 1964 — what, in effect, started the official daemonization of smoking. However, although cited by an endless number of antismoking propagandfa sources, the Surgeong General of the time went to great lengths to highlight that the link between smoking and disease was not scientifically established, but only a statistical association and a matter if judgement. Over forty years later, the scientific situation has not changed, but the political exploitation of this and the following Surgeon General Reports is known to all.

At page 20 of the document the difference between what is scientifically demonstrated and what is a matter of opinion is highlighted:

"Statistical methods cannot establish proof of a causal relationship in an association. The causal significance of an association is a matter of judgment which goes beyond any statement of statistical probability. To judge or evaluate the causal significance of the association between the attribute or agent and the disease, or effect upon health, a number of criteria must be utilized, no one of which is an all-sufficient basis for judgment. These criteria include :

a) The consistency of the association
b) The strength of the association
c) The specificity of the association
d) The temporal relationship of the association
e) The coherence of the association "

At page 175 of the document the concept is further deepened:

"It is not practical to attempt an experiment in man to test whether a causal relationship exists between smoking of tobacco and lung cancer. Such an experiment would imply the random selection of very young subjects living under environmental conditions as nearly identical as possible, and random selection of those who were to be smokers and those who were to be the non-smoker controls. Their smoking and other habits would need to be held constant for many years. Because of the relatively low incidence of lung cancer in the human population, both the test and the control groups would have to be very large."

"As such an experiment in man is not feasible, the judgment of causality must he made on other grounds. The epidemiologic method, when coupled with clinical or laboratory observations, can provide the basis from which judgments of causality may be derived."

These basic considerations were completely lost in later reports by the Surgeon General and in the rest of the antitobacco propaganda, all turned to project the notion that the judgement of some is science, and that the so-called "consensus" is scientific proof of causality.

That is as false today as it was in 1964. Today, as ever it has been, not even one death can be scientifically demonstrated to be caused by smoking. Although epidemiological "judgement" has evolved into a political ideology at the basis of immense social engineering projects, the fact that "smoking causes cancer" remains a plainly fallacious judgement call and an ungrounded beliefnot a scientific fact.

The actual fact is that no common lifestyle factor, including smoking, has been demonstrated as either necessary or sufficient to cause cancer. By far most smokers do not get lung cancer. Non-smokers do get lung cancer. The cause of cancer, including lung cancer, is not known. Calling various factors which may influence susceptibility for some but not others "the cause" is quite as daft as calling rain "the cause" of grass. What if there is no seed present?

What is the seed of cancer? That is what we do not know. Cancer may be an essentially inscrutable deviation from normal cell replication, it may well include indecipherable aspects of radomness, and effectively, like aging, it may have no single biological "cause." Following on the illogic of attributing cancer and other disease "causation" to smoking, in a literal and fundamentally fallacious sense, has led over the years to a barmy chain of conclusions as might otherwise be arrived at, for instance, if day and night were attributed to the movement of the sun relative to the earth.

It's fine to speak of "sunrise" and "sunset" colloquially. It is the earth's movement relative to the sun, however, which in fact produce these colloquially dubbed phenomena. Attribution of "causation" to tobacco use regarding disease is an intellectual boner of the very same magnitude. This is at the heart of the substitution of ideology for reason or science on the tobacco issue. We have suffered enormously as a result for decades. It is far past time to end this pathetic inanity.

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