[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Wednesday, 27 July 2005, 13:42 GMT 14:42 UK
Sir Richard Doll: Your tributes
Sir Richard Doll
Sir Richard Doll, who first conclusively proved a link between smoking and lung cancer, has died after a short illness at the age of 92.

Fellow scientists say his pioneering work in this field led to a dramatic reduction in smoking rates and has saved or extended countless lives.

As well as his studies into cancer and heart disease, he investigated the effects of alcohol on unborn babies, and the side effects of the birth control pill.

Thank you for your tributes. Read a selection of your e-mails below.


Your tributes:

On behalf of the Cyprus Anti-Cancer Society, the Cyprus National Coalition for Smoking Prevention and the Cyprus Non Smokers League I would like to register our deep sorrow for the passing of Sir Richard Doll the pioneer in identifying "tobacco as a culprit". Personally I was lucky enough to hear him speak at European and International gatherings on the smoking issue with his characteristic modesty, charm and enthusiasm for his work. The world has lost a great man; a hero.
Stelios G .Sycallides, Nicosia - Cyprus

He was a great man. His findings were to change the minds and lives of millions of people around the world. His research save the lives of millions. I am very grateful to him!
Marta Cecilia Angueira, Buenos Aires-Argentina

I was fortunate to hear Sir Richard speak at the Tackling Tobacco in England Conference in November last year. Both he and his work can only be described as inspirational. He will be sadly missed
Tina Williams, Birkenhead England

The global impact of Sir Richard Doll's pioneering and inspirational career is well documented. I should like however to add a personal thank you to Sir Richard for his unstinting support of the charity QUIT. Sir Richard was a Vice President of QUIT for many years, and we were particularly delighted to celebrate his 90th birthday with him at a special event hosted at the Victoria and Albert Museum. Sir Richard remained actively involved with our work, and when we last met in April he gave me lots of practical advice about the future direction of the charity, given with his customary irreverence and good humour. We shall all miss him greatly.
Steve Crone, London, UK

Very sad to hear of Sir Richard Doll's death. I enjoyed the privilege of meeting Sir Richard Doll on a number of occasions. He was very friendly and modest. His outstanding contribution to medical science has saved many thousands from premature death due to smoking. He will be sadly missed. Best wishes to his family and friends.
Gajalakshmi Vendhan, Chennai, India

A true pioneer and an inspiration
Susanna Collins, UK
Truly a life to be celebrated; he made a huge impact on the lives of so many people - not just in terms of smoking and cancer but also with alcohol's effects on foetal development. A true pioneer and an inspiration.
Susanna Collins, UK

As a budding scientist, it is nice to have wonderful role models such as Sir Richard Doll. Through persistence and his quest to seek truth he has helped millions. He will be truly missed.
Lorem Que, Phoenix, USA

Sir Richard Doll will remain forever in our hearts and minds as we all travelled together in pursuit of scientific truth in the smoking and health controversy. His encouragement meant so very much to us. The world owes this fine gentleman so much. Dietrich and Ilse Hoffmann, Collaborators of [the late] Ernst L Wynder, M.D., at the American Health Foundation, New York and Valhalla, NY, USA
Dietrich and Ilse Hoffmann, Larchmont, NY, USA

Having had the honour of meeting and sharing a conversation with Sir Richard I would wish to say that he was, and will remain, a truly inspirational figure for those that work to reduce the burden of death and disease caused by tobacco smoking. His legacy of many lives saved is in stark contrast to that of those who, even at this sad time, attempt to discredit his work.
Paul Hooper, Birmingham UK

Sir Richard Doll's work on the connection between lung cancer and cigarette smoking helped me to quit smoking 30 years ago. As one of the people whose life he helped to save, I am very grateful to him for this and also for all his work which has truly helped save many millions of lives.
Brad Belden, Berkeley, California, United States

I work in the Sir Richard Doll Building in Oxford, a new centre for epidemiological and clinical research which was completed earlier this year and named in his honour. I trust that the hundreds of scientific staff will do justice to his legacy by continuing to carry out world-class medical research. He never stopped working and I saw him frequenting 'his' building a number of times, and he mentioned to me that he had been visiting there "a couple of times per week". Very sad to hear of his death: he made a lifetime's fantastic contribution to medical science.
Dave Ewart, Oxford

I teach epidemiology to the second year Veterinary undergraduates at the University of Bristol. I have always used the work of Doll and Hill in worked examples for the students to highlight his brilliance. The link between smoking and cancer seems so obvious now, but was a complete mystery only 50 years ago. I think it helps them to see how important an open mind is to discovery. Who knows maybe even some of them will give up smoking!
Rose Grogono, Bristol

In the early 1960s, when I was a schoolgirl, I saw my first film about the effects of smoking and how mice developed cancer from it, I remembered being so horrified and scared that I told my parents about it. They were smokers. Smoking was still highly accepted and fashionable but my dad took heed and he stopped smoking soon after and my mother followed shortly as well. It must have been due to the message sent by Sir Richard Doll. He had truly made an impact on a 13 year child's mind. Thank you, Sir Richard.
Helen Smith, London UK

As the founding warden of Oxford University's Green College, Sir Richard enjoyed chatting with us students. We all remember him for his friendliness and humour.
N Foo, Ipoh, Malaysia

His legacy is the continuing decline of smoking in this country, which he deserves a lot of credit for
Simon Abbott, Oxford England
I was one of the privileged people to have come into contact with Sir Richard for the last five years. We worked in the same building in the Radcliffe Infirmary in Oxford. Although I didn't work directly with him he was always very pleasant and approachable. He was so well liked and respected within our building that when our unit moved in June 2005, the new building was named The Richard Doll Building. His legacy is the continuing decline of smoking in this country, which he deserves a lot of credit for.
Simon Abbott, Oxford England

It's good feeling to put a face to the individual who made the connection between smoking and Lung cancer. Being a recreational smoker in my early teens, I remember being faced with the ill-effects of smoking and after some deliberation deciding to drop the habit. Now here's a man who's saved more lives than all our present-day politicians put together.
Kishen, New York, US

Not only did his research save the lives of millions, but it showed the world that not everything social acceptable is safe! For saving of many, I thank you.
Jonathan Simmonds, Bedford Hills, NY

Not only in UK, but also in my country the scientific work of Sir Doll saved many lives. Also, I had the privilege to meet him last year as a vital, informed person, good companion as well. According to my invitation, he was interested to come to Prague - and he said: "But do it quick!" I just can be sorry that I was not quick enough.
Eva Kralikova, Prague, Czech Republic

I am very saddened by the death of Sir Richard Doll. I was honoured to hear him speak at the Tobacco Control Conference in Nov 2004 - where he amazed us all by standing for over an hour! His speech was informative and inspiring and I feel very lucky to have had that experience. He will always be remembered for the thousands of lives his research has saved and his passing will inspire us to carry on helping people to quit this terrible, life sapping habit.
Bev Avis-Dakin, Rugby

I had the privilege of hearing Sir Richard speak at the Tackling Tobacco in November and he was a real inspiration. For a 92-year old he was amazing ... he stood and delivered his presentation - and didn't even need glasses! He was so on the ball and his sense and humour shone through. There is no doubt he will be sadly missed.
Jo Woodvine, Bexley, England

A great man
John Paton, St Albans
A great man. Sad, but not surprising, that it took so long for the major study he did in the 1950s to be picked up and acted on by the government and public. What was interesting in his obituaries was to see the importance he placed on large studies involving 1000s or 10s of thousands in order to be sure that the results were statistically significant and not due to random variations. If only more journalists were aware of the power of the Chi Square of Significance test we would be spared all these health scares based on minute samples, such as the absurd MMR autism link. Such sloppy journalism, of which even the BBC is often guilty, undermines the validity of the major research that Sir Richard did.
John Paton, St Albans

To be in the same room as this inspiring man during the Tackling Tobacco Conference in England last year was a privilege. He was a remarkable gentleman and scientist who has made an outstanding contribution in scientific history!
Helen Gray, Witham, Essex. U.K.

It was a great privilege to meet Sir Richard Doll at a Tobacco conference last year. The man was an absolute genius and has saved many thousands of lives as a result of his research and studies over the years. He will sadly missed.
Karen Harris, Witham Essex UK

I heard Richard Doll speak at a national conference 8 months ago and was amazed, motivated and inspired by him. He was still making plans for more research. His work is the basis of all that we do in smoking cessation, a true inspiration for us all
Kate Gegg, Gloucestershire, UK

Despite his greatness Sir Richard always seemed to find time for the humblest of researchers and labourers in the vineyard who knocked at his door. I will always remember his kindness, generosity of spirit, and encouragement of even what seemed half baked concepts at the time.
Dr Michael Goodyear, Halifax, Nova Scotia

I had the great honour and pleasure of meeting Sir Richard Doll and spending a week in his company this year. He was a special man who, despite his exceptional achievements, was very modest indeed. He was also friendly, kind, humorous, and fun. It was wonderful to see a man of his age still living life to the full.
Ruth Maxey, London, UK

He was an inspiration to young researchers
Ann Haddleton, London, UK
I worked in Sir Richard's department in Oxford in the late 80s, and he was a man respected by all who had the pleasure to know him. He was an inspiration to young researchers, and always made time to talk to me and my colleagues. He will be sadly missed...
Ann Haddleton, London, UK

Just wanted to say that Sir Richard will always be remembered with affection even to those who have never met him but have known of his work.
Sue White, Essex

The loss of a great, objective scientist who had the guts to swim against the torrent of corporate sponsored research sophistry. Millions of people owe their lives to him, literally.
Geraint, Leatherhead

He was a real inspiration for all. Not just for his pioneering work but also for physically proving that one can continue to work and be healthy and productive if one is determined to well into old age.
Aejaz, Sheffield

I remember as a schoolboy in the early 60s going to, I think, the Royal Festival Hall to watch a live presentation televised from somewhere north of the river of Sir Richard giving demonstrations of the effects of smoking. The two exhibits that stuck in my mind were a section of lung complete with tar and a beating rabbits heart given a drop of nicotine, whereby it instantly increased it's rate of heartbeat and then stopped! This cured me of any thoughts of smoking.
Brian Pressley, Stockport,UK

Here was a scientist who had the courage to conduct real science rather than a corporate version which backs up claims of the money makers. It is easy to forget what a battle he and others had when the tobacco companies wished to bury such research. I hope there will be many more scientists of his ilk in the future.
A Legge, Leeds, Uk

Brave and courageous as well as an outstanding scientist. Please show the two Horizon programmes as a tribute to him.
Neil, Bristol

While it is fitting to remember Sir Richard Doll for his pioneering studies on smoking and lung cancer, his contribution to epidemiological studies of radiation health effects is equally important. His loss will be deeply felt by the radiation community as well.
Mary, India

I knew Richard for a number of years when he acted as Wessex Water's medical advisor. His guidance on emerging medical issues which could possibly affect water supplies was a great value to the Board of the Company. The medical world will miss his knowledge and practical approach.
Gareth Jones, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

I am so saddened to learn of the news. I had the privilege of meeting him on a couple of occasions and he was a truly charming and humorous gentleman. It really is time that tobacco companies honour his legacy by finally admitting that their products are addictive and cause lung cancer.
Naj Dehlavi, New Zealand

An exceptional man, who lived according to principle and truth
Sanjay Singh, Waterloo Canada
An exceptional man, who lived according to principle and truth. The ability to appreciate his contributions is lost on the vast majority of people who benefited from his scientific work, and that's something I hope the BBC can help correct by having a page of renowned scientists and engineers, so that more of us can know these people. Just as an unexamined life is not worth living, we should also examine lives of people such as Dr. Doll, that we might be inspired to change society for the better, as he had.
Sanjay Singh, Waterloo Canada

I remember seeing Richard Doll speak at a meeting just 6 months ago. Even at his great age he was witty, charming and bright as a button. His research has saved literally millions of lives, and I'm sure he'll be much missed. Best wishes to his family and friends.
Iain, Oxford

My role model has died. He was a source of stimulus for me as an anti-tobacco advocate. May God Bless his soul for the good work he did for the mankind.
Dr.Javaid Khan, Karachi, Pakistan

Sir Richard was an inspirational Speaker at the ASMR National Scientific Conference in Hobart Tasmania November 1998. Condolences to his family.
Catherine West, Snr. Exec Officer, ASMR The Australian Society for Medical Research, Sydney, Australia

A marvellous gentleman scientist of the old school, who along with the man who invented car seat belts, and the pioneers of immunisation, is an unsung hero of modern times.
Roger, UK

Sir Richard laid the foundation stone for our new building here in Belfast on June 16th 2005. Everyone present was amazed at his ability to present to an audience, without the use of reading glasses at 91, the most factual, interesting and at times self-effacing and amusing of presentations. What a wonderful, intelligent, charismatic and brilliant man he was.
Denny Elliott, Belfast, N.Ireland

I was saddened to hear of Sir Richard Doll's death, though he had had a pretty good innings. I knew him quite well in the early 1970s when he was a member of the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution, and as part of the secretariat I worked with him on its study on nuclear power and the environment. His wise counsel and sympathy with the precautionary principle, unusual at the time, were major factors leading to the Commission's scepticism about a plutonium economy, based on Fast Nuclear Reactors like the one at Dounreay. The Commission's report ultimately led to the abandonment of this system of electricity generation which raised major security and safety issues but seemed to promise almost unlimited energy at a time when we were all concerned that we would run short. It was a privilege to have worked with him.
Grant Lewison, Richmond, UK

Many years ago in my work as a Welfare Rights Officer I had a client whose husband had died of diffuse mesothelioma with no obvious exposure to asbestos and so she was unable to claim any benefits, without using as evidence Sir Richard's research into this disease her case would never have been won and the future of her and her son secured.
Jane, Glasgow, UK

Sir Richard Doll had the distinction of being one of the greatest epidemiologists of the 20th century. His description of the link between lung cancer and smoking probably resulted in many millions of lives being saved worldwide. I had the privilege of attending one or two lectures by the great man and his clarity of thought and remarkable intelligence shone through even in old age
Dr Naresh Chada, Bangor County Down UK

One of Sir Richard's many legacies is Green College, Oxford's youngest college founded 26 years ago and devoted to human health and well being. Richard's vision and energy ensured the University's agreement and secured the necessary funding from Cecil Green, a British born American philanthropist. Richard became the college's founding Warden and his tireless commitment to the college saw it gain rapid national and international recognition.
Michael Kettlewell, Oxford. UK

His dedication and commitment to medical research has meant many more lives will be saved
Dr Jalil Ahmed, Manchester Royal Infirmary
As a newly qualified doctor, one of our duties is to make patients aware of the importance of stopping smoking. Sir Richard Doll's ground breaking work has been important in providing the foundation for all research into the impact of smoking cigarettes on health. It has provided the basis for educating our patients. There is no doubt it has helped to save millions of lives. His dedication and commitment to medical research has meant many more lives will be saved. Surely a phenomenal achievement from life long hard work.
Dr Jalil Ahmed, Manchester Royal Infirmary, Manchester

I didn't even know this man's name but I owe him a lot. I gave up from 60 cigarettes a day to nil due, among other things, to figures drawn from his research.
Remi in Paris, Paris France

I had the privilege of meeting Sir Richard Doll in the last few weeks of his life. He maintained dignity through out and was truly a remarkable man.
Clare, Oxford, UK

This man saved my life.
Andrew Leppard, Southampton, England.

A most unassuming man and one whose work changed the lives of many around the world
Pam Burn, Letchworth, UK
I enjoyed the privilege of meeting Sir Richard Doll on a number of occasions in my last job with a medical body. He was both modest and charming and a joy to talk to. Many senior doctors can be terribly patronising when speaking to the non-medically qualified, but this was never the case at all with Sir Richard.

I am reminded of an occasion a few years ago when I offered to call him a taxi at the end of a dinner when I knew he was intending to travel home that night. He assured me that it wasn't necessary as he planned to walk to Marble Arch where he would pick up the coach home to Oxford, reaching there at around 2.00am. It was, he said, the way he usually got home after an evening in town. A most unassuming man and one whose work changed the lives of many around the world.
Pam Burn, Letchworth, UK

This doctor was obviously a real pioneer and has helped save many millions of people and his work will continue to do so in the future. However, he's certainly not a household name for my generation - which just goes to show, why is it celebrities get all the attention? What about amazing people like Sir Richard Doll who have made a far worthier contribution to society. I'm glad to hear he had a short illness, rather than anything prolonged. Bless you Sir Richard for all the good work you have done.
Jacks, London, UK

As a budding epidemiologist I am saddened by the death of one the Giants. Now we need to tackle the tobacco industry and its lies.
Loic Lhopitalier, London, UK

He was a great man and the fruit of his work will be enjoyed by the generations to come.
Munem Hussain, Pilgrim Hospital, Boston

Before reading this I never knew who made the link between smoking and cancer, nor even when they did it. I'm glad I read this because I now appreciate how groundbreaking the work was and also know who was responsible. I've enjoyed a lifetime of not smoking - I'm 32 now and if I'd smoked my health would be a lot different.

Anything to show the influence of nicotine on health has to be championed. The tobacco industry has to be shown to be responsible for the millions of deaths and the governments acceptant of tax benefits must be condemned
andrew eckford, france

Richard, you have my respect. It's work like yours which helped me to resist the high peer pressures of smoking. Throughout my teens and early 20s, a lot of my friends smoked and the materialistic industry glamorised it.

Your research reassured me that avoiding smoking prevents many heart and lung diseases and improves quality of life....and personal finances. Without your work, I would have felt like a freak by not smoking and would have given in to temptation to start smoking.
Lewis, Stockport, Greater Manchester

You might have mentioned that the German government (the Third Reich) was first in making the link between smoking and lung cancer. Herr Hitler was a big anti-smoking crusader. This at a time when the US government was promoting smoking.
joel, Baltimore, MD USA

I recall seeing this man on many interviews regarding the dangers of smoking. He was revolutionary in his approach, an absolute gentleman and exceedingly brilliant academically.
Peter, Canada( ex-UK citizen)

Countless lives have been saved by this brilliant, pioneering. scientist's research. His knowledge and wisdom will be greatly missed. He blazed many a trail in the medical field and will never be forgotten.
Pancha Chancra, Brussels; Belgium

Not only did his research save the lives of millions, but it showed the world that not everything social acceptable is safe! For saving of many, I thank you
Jonathan Simmonds, Bedford Hills, NY

He was a man of extreme wisdom in a time when we needed them most sorely. May his example always live on.
Kevin Ziese, Austin, Texas, USA

Whilst I agree that Sir Richard Doll is to be applauded for the efforts of Bradford-Hill and himself in identifying a strong relationship between smoking and lung cancer (although 'cause' has never been proven, incidentally), it is such a shame that this work and most subsequent so-called 'research' into smoking and health has been seriously tainted by political correctness.

In particular most epidemiological studies into the mythical 'passive smoking' have taken on the appearance of the search for the holy grail. Sadly (for us), despite their continual failure to identify any real link (causal or otherwise) between second-hand smoke and various illnesses, the prevailing will is to accept junk science and, often, downright dishonesty at face value, since it meets with the current nannyish, sanctimonious, obsessive pressure group-driven bullying attitude to smoking in today's world.

As for Sir Richard himself, on Desert Island Discs on BBC Radio 4, February 2001, he said 'The effects of other people smoking in my presence are so small it doesn't bother me.'

Maybe we should applaud him for one other attribute which is sadly lacking in today's society - tolerance.
Brian Bond, Sutton Coldfield, UK




SEE ALSO:



PRODUCTS AND SERVICES

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific