Smoking, Health, and Personality

By H. J. Eysenck | Go to book overview

Chapter 8
Giving up Smoking?

A cigarette is the perfect type of a perfect pleasure. It is exquisite, and it leaves one unsatisfied. What more can one want?

OSCAR WILDE

THE PRESENT SITUATION is so unsatisfactory because the two main theories, the direct causal theory and the constitutional one, are usually capable of explaining the observed fact equally well so that these facts do not serve to make a choice between them possible. Consider for instance the facts regarding the Seventh Day Adventists in the United States. This sect, which is a non- smoking, non-drinking community, also differs from the general population by having a lower intake of meat, coffee and tea and a higher intake of milk, and appears to be remarkably free from lung cancer. [55] Wynder and Lemon who instigated this study suggested that the results supported a direct causal connection between smoking and lung cancer, but again it must be said that the results can equally well be explained by reference to a constitutional hypothesis. Religious groups like the Seventh Day Adventists tend to be extremely introverted in their personality, and therefore be predisposed constitutionally not to develop lung cancer and not to smoke. Until we are able to leave this vicious circle of alternative hypotheses giving similar predictions clearly we shall not advance very far.

Some people propose to cut the Gordian Knot by direct assertion. The authors of the British and American reports claim that: 'Cigarette smoking is causally related to lung cancer in men; the magnitude of the effect of cigarette smoking far out

-138-

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Smoking, Health, and Personality
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Smoking, Health and Personality *
  • Contents *
  • Illustrations *
  • Introduction ii
  • Chapter 1 - The Origin and Growth of a Habit 17
  • Chapter 2 - The Development of Suspicion 33
  • Chapter 3 - The Critics Hit Back 50
  • Chapter 4 - Personality and Constitution 75
  • Chapter 5 - Smokers and Non-Smokers 90
  • Chapter 6 - Cancer and Personality 107
  • Chapter 7 - The Causes of Lung Cancer 119
  • Chapter 8 - Giving Up Smoking? 138
  • Epilogue - Where There's Smoke There's Fire 151
  • Notes 156
  • Index 161
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