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The study will not end until the whole two hundred thousand are dead, but Dr Hammond says he will have the first significant findings ready by the end of 1955.
One leading cigarette company has already said that it will accept the results as unquestioned.
And, since Americans went on buying cigarettes by leaping billions, the manufacturers maintained their code of contemptuous silence, which is almost as rigid as the taboo of a Victorian dinner-table on the mention of the female leg.
Two years later the "British Medical Journal" published a weightier study and it began to look as if the cigarette manufacturers would never be shut of the nuisance. They reported that they had produced skin cancer in 44 per cent of the mice they had painted with tobacco tar condensed from cigarette smoke.
Meanwhile the medical profession is going ahead on its own.
The Institute of Industrial Medicine means to break down tobacco tars into their component parts and hopes to discover which fraction caused the skin cancer in mice.
Although three separate reports were published here in 1949, suggesting a plausible relationship between smoking and cancer of the lung, they were folded away inside the pages of medical journals.He is Dr Cuyler Hammond, the American Cancer Society's chief medical statistician.He has deep doubts about all the studies reported so far.He suspects that the interviewers of lung-cancer patients probably induce an emotional bias in their victims who will thereby be led to make suspicious confessionals of heavy smoking.He says that it is extremely difficult to find a control group with the matched characteristics, of age, social standing, occupational habits, and regional location, of any given sick group.