Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Incidence of Lung Cancer.


asked the Minister for Health whether he has any comment to offer on the statement attributed to Dr. MacDonald Sinclair, Director of the Oxford University Laboratory on Human Nutrition, in a newspaper article published on 3rd May, 1963, to the effect that the recent increases in the incidence of lung cancer were caused more by increased susceptibility to harmful substances in our diet than by an increase in cigarette smoking.

I have seen the article referred to. Whilst there are, probably, as stated by Dr. Sinclair, factors additional to cigarette smoking which contribute to the recent increases in the incidence of lung cancer, I am advised that Dr. Sinclair's statements are not sufficiently proved to warrant our taking a less grave view of the volume of scientific evidence demonstrating the major role of excessive cigarette smoking as a cause of cancer of this site.

Incidentally, it is not correct to describe Dr. Sinclair as "Director of the Oxford University Laboratory on Human Nutrition". He ceased to hold this appointment in 1958 when he ceased to be a Reader in Human Nutrition in that university. The Oxford University Laboratory on Human Nutrition went out of existence about the same time. These facts were stated by Dr. Sinclair himself in the High Court in the course of his evidence in the fluoridation law case before the article was published.

Will the Minister state whether he is prepared to ask theIrish Times, in which paper the article appeared, to correct the misleading description of that gentleman's qualifications which were published in the article?

I think that is a matter for the newspaper concerned.