Passive Smoking

IARC Study
Antismoking Cartel Desperately Tries To Deny Findings


On March 8, 1998, two British newspapers (Sunday Telegraph and Sunday Times) reported that the results of an allegedly negative study of the World Health Organization (WHO) on passive smoking had been withheld from publication. The investigation referred to is a European multicentre case-control study on the risk of lung cancer in non-smokers exposed to passive smoking, coordinated by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). The principal statements in the newspaper articles were false and misleading:

(1) No withholding of results has ever taken place. In line with scientific practice, a manuscript reporting the main study results has been submitted several weeks ago to an international scientific journal. The working document of the study, containing primary data from all centres involved, will be made publicly available once the original paper is accepted.

(2) The alleged negativity of the study is in sharp contrast to what is reported in the article submitted. An increase of 16% in the risk of lung cancer for non-smoking spouses of smokers, and a 17% increase for exposure to passive smoking at the workplace were observed. For both exposures, there was a dose-response relationship, i.e. greater extent of exposure was associated with a higher risk.

No increased risk was found for lung cancer in adults who were exposed to passive smoking during childhood but other studies have shown that passive smoking by children worsens asthma and may cause several disease conditions, including bronchitis and pneumonia.

The study, conducted in 12 centres from seven European countries, included 650 cases of lung cancer and 1542 controls and is the largest study carried out in European populations to date.The results support previous studies in Europe and the U.S.A. which indicate that passive smoking increases the risk of lung cancer in humans.

For more information, please contact Dr Paolo Boffetta (Tel +33 472 73 84 41 /, or Dr Rodolfo Saracci (+33 472 73 84 08 /

Dr Nicolas Gaudin
Public Relations Officer
150, cours Albert-Thomas
69372 Lyon Cedex 08

COMMENT: What about the statement about the paper's rejection by the BMJ? They would not have rejected it if it said what Gaudin says it does. This is no more credible than the lies that it was "too small" (just the largest ever done) and "poorly designed" (by the IARC itself).

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