Cancer Related to Smoking, Medical School Man Reports

Cigarettes 'Harmful' Pipes, Cigars Seem 'Relatively Safe'

Lung cancer is definitely more common among smokers than among non-smokers, a professor at the University Medical School affirmed last night.

Dr. David D. Rutstein, professor of Preventive Medicine, based his observations on a survey of all the work done on the problem in recent years. The survey report wan drawn up by Dr. Rutstein and his colleagues at the Medical School.

"We don't know that tobacco smoke causes cancer," he pointed out, "but we do know there is a very clear cut association between those who in halo tobacco smoke and those who get lung cancer. I think that the American public must be told the facts as we are trying to tell them today."

Harmful Element Unknown

The information in the report is based on studies of actual smokers compared with actual non-smokers, and is not based merely on the simultaneous increases in cigarette smoking and lung cancer.


The frequency of lung cancer in the United States is four to 13 times as great among people who smoke cigarettes as among people who don't smoke, according to the report. Just under 14,000 people died of lung cancer in the United States in 1950, compared to 15,000 who died of chest tuberculosis.

Science does not yet know what substance in cigarettes is related to the increase in cancer, Dr. Rutstein said. He noted, however, that if the tars resulting from the burning of cigarette tobacco are applied to the backs of animals or, under certain circumstances, inhaled into the lungs of mice, cancer results.

Cigar and pipe smokers seem relatively safe, although they do show a propensity for cancer of the larynx, and pipe smokers often contract lip cancer, he remarked.

At present, men are the major victims of lung cancer. Dr. Ruststein could not say whether or not the increase of smoking among women in the past decade would result in an increase in female lung cancer.