Heather Stockwell

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This article is part of the Tobacco portal on Sourcewatch funded from 2006 - 2009 by the American Legacy Foundation.

Dr. Heather Stockwell is a department chair and professor of epidemiology at the University of South Florida[1] who found that nonsmoking women married to smokers had a 60 % higher risk of lung cancer than women married to nonsmokers. The most highly exposed group in Stockwell's study, women exposed for 40 years or more, had a 130 % increase in risk. [2]

Dr Stockwell has given her name to a large U.S. study into the health effects of passive smoking, published in 1992. The Stockwell Study was one of the two Excluded Studies (the other was the Brownson study) which the tobacco industry claimed was deliberately ignored by the EPA's ETS risk assessment. The industry repeatedly implied that the EPA ignored two 1992 studies because they didn't support the agency's conclusions.[citation needed]

In fact, both were published during the seven-month period after the EPA report was written but before it was released, and neither suggested that the EPA was wrong. [1] However the results were not strong, and they were described by Stockwell and her associates in words that could be interpreted as only suggesting that long term exposure to environmental tobacco smoke increases the risk of lung cancer in non-smokering women. "Risks appeared most elevated for non-adenocarcinoma lung cancers. High levels of exposure during youth and adult-hood may each play a role in increasing lung cancer risk."

The industry seized upon the vagueness of the terminology, although the EPA later concluded that inclusion of such studies would, if anything, have strengthened the conclusions of their risk assessment.

The tobacco industry was desperately trying to find a loop-hole by data-mining and saw this as an opportunity to deflect the impact of the EPA finding. They claimed that Stockwell had reported 'no overall statistically significant increased risk due to ETS exposure. Then, in a internal memo, Ellen Merlo of Philip Morris reported that the industry consultant, [Dr] "Gio Gori is trying to meet with Stockwell in order to obtain raw data because data was obtained on confounders such as diet. The results on the confounders have not been published. This was a Federally funded study--who does the data belong to??" [2]

It appears they were trying to find a reason to discount the findings by attributing the increased rates of lung-cancer to dietary differences.[citation needed]

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  1. University of South Florida Biosketch of Heather Stockwell accessed June 26, 2009
  2. Armstrong,AW; Brusa,MR; Candelora,EC; Goldman,AL; Lyman,GH; Noss,CI; Pinkham,PA; Stockwell,HG Environmental Tobacco Smoke and Lung Cancer Risk in Nonsmoking Women Journal of the National Cancer Institute, University of South Florida. September 16, 1992. Bates No. 2026223866/3871