With the cause and effect between smoking and adverse health outcomes, including lung cancer, well established, by the latter part of the twentieth century, attention turned to breathing secondhand smoke. Secondhand smoke is what comes off the cigarette and is also breathed out of the smoker’s mouth. It was logical that secondhand smoke might be bad for the health of those who breathed it in, but scientific research was needed to support policy initiatives to reduce exposure and risk. A Japanese researcher published one of the first studies and the one that became high profile. His work, like the evidence against direct smoking, was attacked by the industry. Another line of research assumed that based on studies of the hazards of constituents of tobacco smoke, that it was a hazard. This line of thinking led to quantitative risk estimates. The dynamic tension between industry arguments and those of leading researchers reveals the complex issues surrounding uncertainty and doubt in the face of making policy decisions.
KeywordsSecondhand smoke Lung cancer Cigarettes Uncertainty Japan Quantitative risk assessment Industry
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