HEALTH NOTES: The second-hand smoke hypothesis gets a slap in the face

The second-hand smoke hypothesis gets a slap in the face

The death of Dana Reeve was sad and shocking, especially after the long incapacitation and recent death of her husband, Christopher Reeve. Less than two years after his death, Dana was diagnosed with lung cancer. Seven months later, she died at the age of 44. She never smoked, and we can assume that her husband never smoked either. (If he had, the press and governmental klaxons would have been all over the case blaming her death on second-hand smoke.)

Laurie Fenton, president of the non-profit Lung Cancer Alliance, said, “Sadly, it takes her death, coming just seven months after diagnosis, and the fact that she had never smoked, to let the public see the real picture of lung cancer.”

Now what do you suppose Laurie meant by “the real picture of lung cancer”? Could there be a crack in the armor of the sidestream smoke hypothesis? Possibly. But there’s certainly no crack in the armor of the American Cancer Society (ACS). Dr. Michael Thun, representing the ACS, said that smoking causes 90 percent of lung cancer deaths among men and 80 percent of lung cancer deaths among women. But the ACS doesn’t actually have any scientific proof that smoking causes lung cancer–or any other type of cancer for that matter. (I know this sounds absurd to those of you who have been brainwashed, so you don’t need to send me any more letters: I’ve heard all the arguments. I’ve done the research, and I’m stickin’ with it.)

Thun went on to complain that lung cancer research is underfunded. I don’t think it’s underfunded. It’s just that the money is spent on treatment rather than on research into its origins. I guess people think it’s a waste of money because they believe lung cancer to be a self-induced disease caused by smoking.

In the meantime, tens of thousands of people are dying-people like Dana Reeve, who have never smoked or been exposed to significant sidestream smoke. How many more innocent victims will have to die while the medical community sits idly by? Scientists can’t begin working on a cure-or even give adequate advice about prevention -until they know what causes it. They tell people not to smoke, but that obviously isn’t doing much in the way of prevention. But now, as evidenced by the untimely death of Dana Reeve, it’s time to look beyond the cop-out answer of cigarettes and second-hand smoke and find the REAL cause.

Action to take:

Please read Passive Smoke: The EPA’s Betrayal of Science and Policy by Gio B. Gori and John C. Luik. It’s a report from the Fraser Institute, one of Canada’s most respected non-profit research organizations on the fake issue of second-hand smoke. Visit their website,, or call (604)688-0221 to order a copy or to get more information.


“Dana Reeve’s death draws attention to lung cancer,” Yahoo News, 3/8/06