Apologies to readers for continuing the already lengthy correspondence on smoking but it is necessary to correct Mr Arnone’s (MB 30/7) concept of death certificates once again. Only immediate causes of death and are normally recorded. Since you don’t fall down dead an hour after smoking it does not figure on death certificates.
As for as the rest of his letter and that of Mr McArdle (23/5) it is somewhat fortuitous that a study by Drs James Hardin & James Thrasher et al of the Arnold School of Public Health at the University of South Carolina has just been published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. Apart from exposing some of the disingenuous tricks of the cigarette industry such as designing their product for maximum addiction and adding ammonia to mellow the taste, the report says that, ‘more people die every year from smoking than from murder, AIDS, suicide, drugs, car crashes and alcohol combined’ (my italic).
What is more alarming for most people is an article in the current edition of The American Journal of Public Health which states that 42,000 non-smokers are killed by second hand smoke every year in the USA alone. For Mr Arnone’s benefit this means that they will die from heart failure, lung disease, a cerebral episode or some form of cancer or organ failure as a result of smoking. However, it is not even this that most of us resent but the fact that it is an unpleasant assault on our persons and would normally be classed as a misdemeanor. It has to be stopped whether Mr Arnone likes it or not.