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Smoking Studies

August 03, 1994

* As authors of a study cited in the article published in the recent Philip Morris ad, "Were You Misled?" we wish to correct misleading statements about our work in the ad. Philip Morris' stated intent was to publicize the "flaws in the EPA's use of science" in the EPA report "Respiratory Health Effects of Passive Smoking: Lung Cancer and Other Disorders." Evidence presented to support Philip Morris' contention relied heavily on one finding of our study of exposures to environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) which, in fact, was never used as evidence in the EPA report.

In fact, the only finding from our study cited by EPA was that "42% of children 5 years of age and under are estimated to live in households with current smokers." Our study did not address respiratory conditions and, therefore, was not used as evidence of respiratory damage from ETS. However, the EPA report was meticulous in presenting descriptions from other studies that demonstrated scientific evidence of the respiratory effects of ETS. Philip Morris states, "We believe that both smokers and nonsmokers should consider these facts and draw their own conclusions about the issue of secondhand smoke." If other studies cited in the EPA report were as "misrepresented" as was our study, then the "facts" presented in the Philip Morris ad are highly suspect.

MARY D. OVERPECK

Epidemiologist

National Institute of Child Health

and Human Development

ABIGAIL J. MOSS, Statistician

Centers for Disease Control

National Center for Health Statistics

National Institutes of Health

Bethesda, Md.

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