Takeshi Hirayama

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

Dr. Takeshi Hirayama produced a major study in 1981 that showed secondhand smoke was harmful.

Takeshi Hirayama published an epidemiological study in January 1981 that demonstrated that secondhand smoke increased the risk of lung cancer in nonsmoking Japanese women who were married to men who smoked compared with non-smoking women married to non-smoking men. Hirayama is generally credited with publishing the first solid evidence linking passive smoking and lung cancer.

Hirayama's study provoked a response from the tobacco industry, who countered by running a multimillion-dollar advertising campaign designed specifically to discredit Hirayama’s paper. The industry commissioned epidemiologist Nathan Mantel to write a critique and used it to suggest that there was a disputed in the passive smoking–lung cancer connection. The industry's advertisements that reached an estimated 80% of the American population. This campaign was especially cynical since it was run despite the fact that the industry’s own scientists, after reviewing Hirayama’s work, concluded ‘‘Hirayama is a good scientist and his non smoking wives publication was correct.’’ [1]


  1. Elisa Ong, Stanton A. Glantz Hirayama’s work has stood the test of time Public Health Classics, Bulletin of the World Health Organization, 2000, 78 (7)

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