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Letter: A Lot Of Smoke

I wish to express an opinion about an article by Frank E. Resnik, "Scientists Have No Business Trying To Sway Public Policy" (The Scientist, Oct. 2, 1989, page 11), castigating a scientist, K. Michael Cummings, for speaking out against the dangers of environmental tobacco smoke. (It will be an admittedly emotional opinion, because in almost 40 years of otolaryangologic practice I can recall only one or two cases of cancer of the mouth, throat, and larynx in a nonsmoker.) First, I would have in

Alex Weisskopf

I wish to express an opinion about an article by Frank E. Resnik, "Scientists Have No Business Trying To Sway Public Policy" (The Scientist, Oct. 2, 1989, page 11), castigating a scientist, K. Michael Cummings, for speaking out against the dangers of environmental tobacco smoke. (It will be an admittedly emotional opinion, because in almost 40 years of otolaryangologic practice I can recall only one or two cases of cancer of the mouth, throat, and larynx in a nonsmoker.)

First, I would have insisted that Philip Morris pay you for the bit of advertising - you may as well gain something from such patently self-serving rubbish.

Secondly, Cummings - in his companion essay ["Public Policy Involvement Is The Duty Of All Scientists"] - was too kind with Resnik. The tobacco industry has done egregious harm to science, by purchasing certain scientists and desecrating scientific integrity. In the interest...

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