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Friday, March 27, 1998 Published at 09:01 GMT


Paper under fire for smoking story
image: [ Health experts link passive smoking to increased risk of cancer ]
Health experts link passive smoking to increased risk of cancer

An anti-smoking group has issued a formal complaint against the Sunday Telegraph newspaper for running a story that claimed passive smoking poses no danger to health.

The BBC's Richard Hannaford says the Sunday Telegraph story angered health campaigners (0'57')
Action for Smoking and Health describes the report as inaccurate, distorted and misleading. It is asking the Press Complaints Commission to investigate.

The front-page story, which ran a with the headline "Passive Smoking Doesn't Cause Cancer: Official," caused an outcry among health experts.

The article claimed the results of a study funded by the World Health Organisation suggested breathing in someone else's smoke might have a protective effect. The paper added that an embarrassed WHO was trying to suppress it.

Paper defends story

The WHO immediately denied the report, saying the study showed an increased risk of cancer from passive smoking. However, because of the small number of people surveyed the results on their own could not be considered statistically conclusive.

It also said the study had been submitted to a respected scientific journal and to be published.

The Sunday Telegraph says it stands by its story and will defend its reporting to the Press Complaints Commission.


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