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Korean Journal of Epidemiology 2005;27(2): 20-27.
Application of Epidemiology to the Tobacco Lawsuit Cases in KOREA.
Hong Gwan Seo, Hyung Joon Jhun
1Center for Cancer Prevention and Detection, National CancerCenter. Korea.
2Department of Occupational and Environmental Medicine,Hangang Sacred Heart Hospital, Hallym University, Korea.
Over the half of last century, epidemiology has witnessed that tobacco causes lung cancer. Therefore, lung cancer lawsuits against tobacco companies have been raised in many countries. However, a discrepancy between epidemiology dealing with population-based causal association and lawsuit dealing with individual-based evidence has happened. This article discusses application of epidemiology to the tobacco lawsuit cases in Korea. Epidemiological studies such as double blind randomized controlled clinical trials and cohort studies give clinicians important information on decision-making for the treatment of an individual patient and predicting prognosis. Epidemiological data have also been applied to the diagnosis of a worker's claim on occupational disease or work-related disorder. Illegality is generally recognized in the court when direct causal relationship between offending action(s) and damage(s) is proved and the damaged must prove illegality of the offender(s). The probability theory was emerged to reduce the responsibility especially when a plaintiff has a difficulty in proving causal relationship and illegality due to long-term duration or complexity or poor condition of the plaintiff such as environmental lawsuit cases. In relation to the probability theory, a theory was raised that a causal relationship is proved legally if an epidemiological causal relationship between offending action(s) and damage(s) is proved. Based on these evidences and theories, we show our opinion that epidemiological data are applicable to the individuals such as tobacco lawsuit cases in Korea.
Keywords: Epidemiology; Tobacco; Lung Cancer; Lawsuit
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