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In 1961 more than 35000 Americans died of lung cancer in the same year lung cancer became the leading cause of cancer death in American men in 1963. Around 40000 Americans will die of lung cancer. These figures support the case against smoking. The other side does not challenge the figures directly. In 1961 it said Lung cancer is still a relatively rare disease. See what I mean George. They contradict each other. Someone just isn't telling the truth. Not at all Randolph. Do you not at all. If Forty thousand people are killed in traffic accidents and 1063 it will probably be called a national disgrace. It would be. But Randolph The fact is that it's quite possible for a disease to be the leading cause of cancer death in men and kill 40000 people and still remain a relatively rare disease as compared to some of the other
diseases. If you wanted to compare those apparently contradictory statements you would have to be something of an expert in medical statistics. You are a lying man and you are thinking like a layman. How else should a layman think. There has been an increase in lung cancer deaths which has almost reached epidemic proportions. 1930 only twenty five hundred Americans died of lung cancer in 1945 11000. In 1963 there will be 40000 lung cancer deaths. The death rate from lung cancer is eight times higher today than it was 20 years ago. No other non infectious diseases ever increase or rapidly increase parallels the increase in cigarette smoking. These figures support the case against smoking. They're not challenge directly the counter arguments run like this.
People live much longer than they used to. It is quite possible that in the past man who might have died of lung cancer died of something else before they reached the age at which they might have died of lung cancer. This is one argument among others. This is important diagnostic techniques have improved tremendously. It is argued that there has been no real increase in lung cancer. There is an impairment increase due to improved diagnosis. There's been no real increase in the incidence of lung cancer. We simply find more now. See what I mean it's confusing. One side says the disease is increasing tremendously and the others. I says that it isn't increasing at all and at the same time it says that people are living longer and therefore there's more of it. Both sides seem to accept the records which record an increase in the incidence of lung cancers diagnosed. One side says it's a parallel increase in cigarette smoking and lung cancer ties the two together.
Several people on the other side offer several different explanations. You would have to be an expert to sort the explanations out and you are a layman Randolph and you think like wow how else can a layman think. Massive surveys of hundreds of thousands of men which recorded the smoking habits of these men and then checked smoking habits against the official death certificates for those who died over a number of years show a relationship between cigarette smoking and lung cancer. There are criticisms to be made of those surveys. Among them this long cancer is extremely hard to diagnose. In fact you can't be sure of lung cancer without a microscopic examination and death certificates do not ordinarily require microscopic examination. It is impossible to make an absolutely accurate diagnosis of lung cancer without microscopic examination
he explained. One set of figures by Thing diagnosis has improved tremendously. And then they turn around and attack another set of figures because diagnosis is so difficult that death certificates can't be trusted. You are thinking like a layman Randolph. Maybe Nala days doctors tend to blame lung cancer for the deaths of heavy smokers without being sure when smoking habits are compared with death certificates. The relationship between the cigarette smoking and death by lung cancer is impressive. When smoking habits are compared with post-mortem microscopic examination the relationship is even more impressive. Another explanation George. No not an explanation. That was a statement of fact which was a counter to an explanation I lost yours on Iran. I think like a layman too. Smoke question mark a
series of programs presenting information on Smoking and Health. These programs are produced by radio station WAGA of the University of Wisconsin. Under a grant from the National Association of educational broadcasters. Now program number five. Each individual must make his own decision about the question of smoking and health. Technical experts in the field may make their decisions according to personal knowledge. A layman will make their decisions according to the information supplied in the public debate. Public debate and controversy is indispensable in a free society. It forces interested parties to present their cases and their information for public examination. It brings the issues into sharp focus and leads to clear decisions. Let me hear both sides of the question. What both sides present their
cases the case or and the case against. Well fair minded and reasonably it was. I listened to both make up my mind. This is the manner in which laymen think. It's so deep in our tradition that sometimes it seems almost instinctive. We just naturally think in terms of pro and con affirmative and negative. The case for in the case against most laymen assume that the cigarette health controversy is this kind of debate. It is not. Consequently it is important to understand the nature of the debate as it is to know the details of the arguments. It's difficult to understand one without recognizing the other. There's a case against smoking which runs like this. Statistical studies plus other evidence lead most authorities to believe that cigarette smoking is a causal factor in lung cancer and
associated with coronary artery disease and several other diseases. And the evidence shows that there is an association between cigarette smoking and an increased death rate among smokers. These conclusions are not based on one study but on more than 20 studies of different kinds in different countries. There is chemical evidence to support the statistical studies to this point 16 cancer inducing substances have been identified in cigarette smoke. There is experimental evidence to support the studies. Laboratory experiments have shown that tobacco tars induce skin cancer in mice. Alter the cell structure in the lungs of dogs inhibit the normal cleansing action of the cilia in the lungs of cows. This is some but not all of the experimental evidence. And there is pathological evidence to support the statistical studies. Microscopic studies of human lung tissue show cell changes are considered to be pre-cancerous to be more common in cigarette smokers than in nonsmokers or pipe and cigar
smokers. There are few cell changes in nonsmokers Moreen cigarette smokers most in those who smoke the most cigarettes the cell changes appear to parallel in quantity the quantity smoked. This is the outline of the case against cigarette smoking. It's many pieces dovetail fit together in a neat constructive case. The case against smoking is accepted by the following in our 30s each according to its area of competence. The American Cancer Society the American Heart Association the surgeon general of the United States the American Public Health Association the Medical Research Council of Great Britain the Royal College of Physicians the State Medical Research Council of Sweden the National Cancer Institute of Canada the Netherlands Ministry of Social Affairs and Public Health the International Union against cancer and others.
Now there is no comparable case for cigarette smoking. There is in fact no constructive case for smoking. If you assume that you're witnessing an ordinary debate in which two or more constructive cases are presented you'll be confused. The public case against cigarette smoking is based on a statement of this sort. Cigarette smoking is harmful. It is a causal factor in lung cancer coronary artery disease and several other diseases. And evidence is cited to support the statements. A constructive case is made. The arguments in defense of cigarette smoking do not begin with this kind of statement. Cigarette smoking is healthful. Or cigarette smoking is not harmful. No constructive case has been made to support the idea that cigarette smoking is harmless. The arguments in defense of smoking are based on a statement of an entirely different kind. There is no final proof that cigarette smoking causes any disease.
R to put it another way. You have not proved your point. This particular kind of argument is rebuttal rebuttal and refutation. Which do not grow out of constructive cases tend to be diffuse. That kind of argument does not bring issues into sharp focus. It clouds and confuses and delays decision. It's comparable to heckling the heckler doesn't present his own case. He simply attacks the case of the speaker. Is one more important characteristic of the pro-smoking arguments. While many reputable organizations agree in general if not in detail with the case against smoking there is no general agreement among the scientists who argue against the case against smoking. Consequently the arguments are very multiple and sometimes contradictory. These characteristics of the pro-smoking side of the argument are legitimate and probably unavoidable at this point. But they do lead to
laymen who think in terms of pro and con for and against. It was swamp of confusion. These are some of the arguments against the case against smoking. Beginning with direct criticism no one has yet reported inducing lung cancer in laboratory animals with cigarette smoke. 16 carcinogens in cigarette smoke a been identified through the use of laboratory animals. No one has experimentally induced cancer in human beings with the 16 carcinogens. You cannot transfer the results of animal experiments directly to human beings. As to the pathological evidence there are pathologists who do not agree that the lesions found in the studies of human lung tissue are pre-cancerous. As to the statistical studies there are statisticians who challenge their validity on several points. However most of the opponents of the case against smoking agree that the
statistical studies are significant. There is an apparent statistical association that looks as though certain smokers have a distinctly increased risk of disease. In 1961 a leading opponent of the case against smoking was reported as making that statement. In fact the central point of controversy and the Smoking and Health controversy lies in interpretation. To be given the results of the statistical studies it is possible that the process which develops cancer also induces the desire to smoke long before the appearance of cancer or that smoking simply determines the site at which cancer will appear in people who would have developed cancer anyway or that lung cancer is induced by a third factor which also induces smoking and that the two are otherwise unrelated. There are good many other explanations and interpretations and all of them tend to lead the
layman away from the central issue and into a confusion of technical debate. However the many interpretations of the statistical studies support what is probably the key arguments against the case against cigarette smoking. This argument statistical studies do not prove cause and effect relationships. Final proof in medical science must come from empirical demonstration from the laboratory in the microscope. And we know what causes malaria and tuberculosis and cholera. You can see it in the microscope. You can demonstrate it under controlled conditions Time and again. There can be no question about it. We do not have that kind of knowledge about the thing or things that cause lung cancer. There is doubt there are questions. The final evidence is not in the final evidence is not in. And we begin with this statement in the final program.
Pro and con
Producing Organization
University of Wisconsin
WHA (Radio station : Madison, Wis.)
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Episode Description
This program focuses on arguments for and against smoking.
Series Description
Series on smoking and health; approved by the American Cancer Society.
Broadcast Date
Public Affairs
Media type
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Composer: Voegeli, Don
Producer: Schmidt, Karl
Producing Organization: University of Wisconsin
Producing Organization: WHA (Radio station : Madison, Wis.)
Writer: Carlson, Elizabeth
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 64-3-5 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:15:00
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Chicago: “Smoke?; Pro and con,” 1964-01-08, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed November 28, 2022,
MLA: “Smoke?; Pro and con.” 1964-01-08. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. November 28, 2022. <>.
APA: Smoke?; Pro and con. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from