Korean J Epidemiol.  2005 Dec;27(2):28-37.

The Role of the Epidemiological Causality of the Association between Smoking and Lung Cancer

  • 1Department of Bioethics and Medical Law, College of Medicine, Yonsei University, Korea.
  • 2Graduate Program in Bioethics and Health Law, Graduate School of Yonsei University, Korea.


It is generally accepted that acknowledgment of the causality of the association between smoking and lung cancer plays a crucial role in imposing liability on tobacco manufacturers in tobacco-related cases. However, acknowledgment of the epidemiological causality of the association is merely a precondition to putting liability on tobacco manufacturers; it does not play a crucial role. Smokers smoke manufactured tobacco by their right to choose according to their self-decision; therefore, it is not reasonable to place all liability concerning lung cancer on tobacco manufacturers. This paper studies the dual structure of the causality of the association between tobacco manufacturing and smoking as well as smoking and lung cancer. It can be understood that tobacco manufacturers must be held liable for lung cancer caused by smoking when there was intentional concealment or insufficient provision of information on the harmfulness of tobacco and the addictiveness of nicotine. The epidemiological causality of the association is the minimum scientific and legal precondition to placing liability on tobacco manufacturers for lung cancer caused by smoking. However, striving for protection and promotion of national health by, for instance, promoting antismoking programs, the epidemiological causality of the association adequately plays a social role when viewed from a public health perspective.


epidemiological causality of the association; liability; tobacco manufacturers; smoking; lung cancer

MeSH Terms

Lung Neoplasms*
Public Health
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