Talking Tuesday, Korea Edition: Smoking Causes Cancer (On Average)

Greetings and salutations form the wonderful city of Seoul, Korea. It's the Korea without the labor camps and despotic dictator-for-life, maybe. (Most dictators are for life, I hear.)

Here are 4 minutes of me giving you a quick thought about causality and how smoking causes cancer. I was sitting in a courtyard at one of Seoul's palaces and recorded this. A friend and colleague back home said that there was a discussion in a class on whether we, epidemiologists, can say that "smoking causes cancer" or if we should instead say that "smoking increases your risk of lung and other cancers". She and I agree that we should say that smoking causes cancer, period, when talking about smoking to the public. If you throw in words like "chances" or "probability" or even "risk", the message gets confused. Individuals within the population start asking for their specific risk, or they think that other things they do minimize the risk. (Some people have told me that they won't get lung cancer from smoking because they run marathons.)

Fifty Smoking Years

I was eating my steak, egg and cheese on a bagel this morning as I listened to the local radio. They were taking calls from listeners to hear their opinions on the last 50 years since the Surgeon General warned that smoking was hazardous to human health. Since that January morning in 1964, the public's [...]