Intended for healthcare professionals


Smoking is part of a causal chain

BMJ 1996; 313 doi: (Published 23 November 1996) Cite this as: BMJ 1996;313:1332
  1. Stuart Logan,
  2. Nick Spencer,
  3. Clare Blackburn
  1. Senior lecturer in paediatric epidemiology Department of Paediatric Epidemiology, Institute of Child Health, London WC1N 1EH
  2. Professor of community child health Lecturer in applied social studies Department of Applied Social Studies, University of Warwick, Coventry CV4 7AL

    EDITOR,—Peter S Blair and colleagues suggest that over 60% of cases of the sudden infant death syndrome may be attributable to the effects of parental smoking.1 This depends on the assumption that the association described is causal.

    While smoking is undoubtedly harmful to babies, the magnitude of the risk is less clear. The close correlation between adverse socioeconomic circumstances and smoking and between risk of the sudden infant death syndrome and deprivation requires that the analysis should take careful account of potential confounding. …

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