Intended for healthcare professionals


Mentioning smoking as a cause of death on death certificates

BMJ 1998; 317 doi: (Published 21 November 1998) Cite this as: BMJ 1998;317:1456

Relatives can be asked in death registries about smoking habit of dead person

  1. T H Lam, Professor,
  2. S Y Ho, Researcher,
  3. A J Hedley, Professor (,
  4. K H Mak, Consultant in community medicine
  1. Department of Community Medicine, University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China
  2. Department of Health, Wanchai, Hong Kong, China
  3. Pilgrim Hospital, Boston, Lincolnshire PE21 9QS

    EDITOR—Robinson et al report that most British doctors do not put smoking as a cause of death.1 We should recognise, however, that doctors will have difficulty in identifying a clear link between smoking and death in individual patients. The recommendation in the report of the Scientific Committee on Tobacco and Health that smoking status should be “recorded as part of the death registration process to aid monitoring the evolving epidemic of tobacco related diseases” is more practical.2 We agree that smoking status should be recorded on all death certificates and not only as a specified cause of death, but further …

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