Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Sir Richard Doll, 1912–2005
  1. D Simpson
  1. Correspondence to:
 David Simpson

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.

Sir Richard Doll, the medical research scientist whose findings provided some of the most important foundations of tobacco control, died peacefully on 24 July 2005, aged 92. While his name is most notably linked to epidemiological studies demonstrating the link between tobacco and disease, his research ranged much more widely, including asbestos, ionising radiation, and clinical trials of therapies to prevent and treat cardiovascular disease and cancer. Apart from his work, continuing until just weeks before his death, his other interests were equally diverse, as a forthcoming biography by Conrad Keating will describe.

Doll is probably best known to tobacco control advocates for his prospective study of British doctors. This was started in 1951 in collaboration with his mentor, the medical statistician Sir Austin Bradford Hill, and continued for the last 30 years with Sir Richard Peto (Doll in turn was Peto’s mentor). It ran for 50 years, revealing new and important information in every report, and ranks as among the greatest prospective epidemiological studies ever undertaken. The early results of this and the 1950 case control study that prompted it provided some of the most important data reviewed in the first report on smoking of the Royal College of Physicians of London, published in 1962, which in turn led to the first US Surgeon General’s report …

View Full Text