Letters

God Bless Dunnington
To reply to criticism of Dr. Joel Dunnington's efforts to stop M.D. Anderson from accepting tobacco money [Letters, "Smoking Out That Dunce Dunnington," December 8]: the writer apparently did not read D.J. Wilson's article [News, "Hard Habit to Break," December 1], or failed to understand what she read.

She writes as a statement of fact: "In truth, the Council for Tobacco Research in no way seeks to influence the results of basic research, nor do they suppress the results."

The real truth can be found in the words the Council for Tobacco Research (CTR) itself originally used when it was founded in January 1954 under the name "Tobacco Industry Research Committee" (TIRC). TIRC's founding was announced in newspapers on January 4, 1954, in a large advertisement headlined "A Frank Statement to Cigarette Smokers." To quote from the advertisement sponsored by TIRC, a listed group of 14 tobacco companies and trade associations:

"Recent reports on experiments with mice have given wide publicity to a theory that cigarette smoking is in some way linked to lung cancer in human beings ...

"We accept an interest in people's health as a basic responsibility, paramount to every other consideration in our business.

"We believe the products we make are not injurious to health.
"We always have and always will cooperate closely with those whose task it is to safeguard the public health ...

"Regardless of the record of the past, the fact that cigarette smoking today should even be suspected as a cause of a serious disease is a matter of deep concern to us.

"Many people have asked us what we are doing to meet the public's concern aroused by the recent reports. Here is the answer.

"1. We are pledging aid and assistance to the research effort into all phases of tobacco use and health ...

"2. For this purpose we are establishing a joint industry group ... This group will be known as Tobacco Industry Research Committee ..."

The tobacco industry lied. The tobacco industry and TIRC/CTR did suppress the results of their research. To this very day, the tobacco industry has misled and deceived millions of its best customers into erroneously believing that its products are safe, when the undeniable facts, as unearthed by courageous, dedicated people like Dr. Dunnington, are that it knew way back in 1954 -- and earlier -- how deadly its products were and did nothing about it.

Of course, the results of the tobacco industry's tobacco research are suppressed or skewed. Of course, the tobacco industry won't attempt to manufacture safer tobacco products and fire-safe cigarettes. If it did, the tobacco industry would incriminate itself, admitting the truth -- its guilt that, for decades, it has knowingly caused the deaths of millions of people worldwide.

As for the Center for Clean Indoor Air Research, it not only is funded by the tobacco industry, it is a tobacco industry front group. It claims that environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) is not an indoor pollutant, so, of course, its sponsored ETS research finds ETS as benign as steam, despite the fact that ETS contains more than 4,000 chemicals, including carcinogens arsenic, benzene, formaldehyde (embalming fluid), hydrogen cyanide (rat poison), phenol (toilet disinfectant) and radioactive Polonium-210.

God bless Dr. Joel Dunnington, a real hero, a physician with impeccable credentials and the highest ethics and morals, who takes the Hippocratic Oath seriously. A radiologist, Dr. Dunnington spends his days and nights treating, caring and speaking out for tobacco industry victims, victims of painful, insufferable, deadly, incurable tobacco-caused diseases (like my father, a laryngectomee and victim of heart disease, lung, laryngeal and bladder cancer from pipe tobacco smoking). M.D. Anderson Cancer Center is truly blessed to have Dr. Dunnington on the faculty. He is a champion of a cause that is making the most positive contribution to the lives of people: saving their lives. We all are truly blessed to have such a guardian of our right to live, to breathe, to be healthy and to be tobacco-free.

Ellen Perlow
Houston

Odor in the Court
I have known Lupe Salinas professionally and personally for some 11 years and consider him of the highest ethical character. The backstabbing described in Tim Fleck's article ["Hanging the Judge," December 8] is more of the small-time, minor-league stuff that proves that the bad odors in Harris County don't all come from the chemical plants.

Peter Linzer
Professor of Law
University of Houston Law Center
Houston

Big Words
It was with a certain amount of trepidation that I picked up a copy of the December 15 Houston Press and read Michael Berryhill's piece on me and the Sam Houston monument ["Mr. Big"]. Given the Press's penchant for roasting their subjects, which I always enjoy when somebody else's neck is on the block, I was naturally apprehensive.

But as I read the article, I began to chuckle at Berryhill's insightful digs. Touche! I was prepared to be indignant but ended up agreeing with practically everything he said.

But best of all, since your paper is free, and I don't have to feel guilty walking away with an armful, my Christmas shopping list was taken care of on the spot.

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