Eloquent Witness Puts Tobacco Companies to Shame
LOS ANGELES, CA -- September 6, 2002 -- Sir Richard Doll, an 89-year-old epidemiologist, spoke elegantly in Los Angeles Superior Court about the research he had done for over 50 years to document the illness and death caused by smoking (Los Angeles Times, August 25, 2002, Steve Lopez). Knighted by the queen of England for his work, Dr. Doll began studying the relationship of tobacco to lung cancer in the 1940's.
By about 1956, he had convinced most of the scientific community that smoking led to lung cancer, according to the LA Times story. Yet in 1994, tobacco executives claimed that there was no proof that tobacco use caused the disease.
"Cigarette smoking is the most significant cause of death in developed countries," Doll testified, "and kills as many people as all other causes combined." When later interviewed by the LA Times reporter, he said that tobacco companies should not be allowed to advertise, particularly if the marketing is aimed at teenagers.