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What constitutes a "smoker"?


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Just thinking about this issue lately. I read a paper recently where the authors designated as "former smokers" anyone who did not currently smoke, but had smoked at least 100 cigarettes in the past 10 years. Five packs in the past 10 years seems like a pretty low exposure to me. Makes me wonder about that often-cited 87% statistic. I talked to a pulmonologist colleague, and he agreed that 100 cigarettes over 10 years is insignificant.


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If that is the case then almost every one is a former smoker, given the prevalence of environmental tobbaco smoke (passive smoking)

I agree with Elaine, more politics than sound research and medicine.

It is interesing about the politics. If you do a search on Peter Duesberg

his career was destoyed because of politics and no one is even willing to test his hypotheses on AIDS and cancer.

This is a multiple Nobel prize winner

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I am trying to track down the source of the oft-cited 87% statistic. John, if you feel like looking too, I'd appreciate it. An oncologist I know said it was from several epidemilogical studies combined. The literature I found on smoking and lung cancer goes back to the 1950s; I sincerely hope we are not relying on statistics that old, esp. given the shift from predominantly squamous cell to predominanatly adenocarcinoma in both lung and esophageal cancer.

So far, I've found papers showing an association of overweight and family history with lung cancer, independent of smoking. I'm trying to obtain another paper on genetic factors.

I'll keep you posted on what I find. The politics of science ARE truly astounding.

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