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Tobacco control community mourns loss of a pioneer

Monday 25 July, 2005

Quit Victoria has joined the chorus of organisations mourning the death of Oxford University Professor, Sir Richard Doll, a man regarded by many as the most important figure in worldwide tobacco control.

A leading cancer epidemiologist, Sir Richard's death at 92 comes 55 years after his most famous finding, that smoking causes lung cancer.

Sir Richard and Austin Bradford Hill published the first report on Smoking and Carcinoma of the Lung in the British Medical Journal in 1950, finding that heavy smokers were 50 times as likely as non-smokers to develop lung cancer.

Quit Victoria's Executive Director, Mr Todd Harper, paid tribute to the man whose enormous contribution to tobacco control research has ensured millions of lives have been spared from tobacco caused death and disease.

""Words could never do justice in describing the importance of Sir Richard’s ongoing investigations into the effects of smoking. In many ways, his research formed the basis for the modern tobacco control movement,"" said Mr Harper.

""Many people, who could have fallen victim to tobacco caused disease, are alive today because of Sir Richard’s pioneering epidemiological work on the link between smoking and cancer, cardiovascular disease and many other disorders.""

Sir Richard’s 1954 study with Austin Bradford Hill, entitled The Mortality of Doctors and their Smoking Habits, is widely credited by the medical profession as the reason most doctors gave up smoking.

The 50-year-long study of smoking and death among British doctors, completed last year also revealed that smokers die on average, ten years younger than non-smokers and that smokers who quit, even up to the age of 50, can still halve their risk of dying.

“Sir Richard’s research was responsible for putting the stark dangers of smoking into the public spotlight and the massive role he played in the tobacco control community will never be forgotten or replicated. He will be sadly missed,” said Mr Harper.

ends

Edwina Vellar,
Media Manager
ph: (03) 9635 5400
mob: 0417 303 811
email: Edwina.Vellar@cancervic.org.au

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