Select Committee on Health Written Evidence

Supplementary memorandum by Imperial Tobacco Limited (SP 11A)

  At the Health Committee evidence session on Smoking in Public Places on 20 October, I undertook to provide the Committee with evidence from the International Agency for Research into Cancer (IARC) which I raised in my testimony with regard to the health impacts of environmental tobacco smoke on children. The paper by Paolo Boffetta and other authors concludes with the statement that "Our results indicate no association between childhood exposure to ETS and lung cancer risk". I also enclose another piece of evidence that I referred to in my testimony, published in the British Medical Journal by James E Enstrom and Geoffrey C Kabat, in which the authors concluded that ". . . the association between exposure to ETS and coronary heart disease and lung cancer may be considerably weaker than generally believed."

  This paper caused controversy when it was published in 2003, leading the editor of the BMJ, Richard Smith, to comment:

    —  "Of course the study we published has flaws—all papers do—but it also has considerable strengths: long follow-up, large sample size, and more complete follow up than many such studies. . . . I found it disturbing that so many people and organisations referred to flaws in the study without specifying what they were. Indeed, this debate was much more remarkable for its passion than its precision.

    —  We must be interested in whether passive smoking kills, and the question has not been definitively answered. It's a hard question, and our methods are inadequate."

  Both pieces of information are enclosed[1] for the benefit of the Committee.

  I would also like to take this opportunity to remove any confusion that may have arisen between the testimony I gave in relation to the marketing of cigarettes in bars and pubs and that of my colleague Barry Jenner from Gallaher Group. Mr Jenner correctly stated that the law enforces prohibitions on marketing of cigarettes in the UK and, as you would expect, I can obviously confirm that Imperial Tobacco complies with the law in this regard as it does in every other regard.

October 2005

1   Not printed. Back

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