The Reverse Hypothesis
In this memo, Philip Morris vice president Jetson E. Lincoln sought a way to prove that a predisposition to lung disease causes smoking. Lincoln sent this memo about the "Reverse Hypothesis" to PM Principal Scientist, Raymond Fagan to inquire if there was some way to test the hypothesis.
No doubt you have seen the recent reference to the study in England in which it was reported that children in smoking families were more inclined to have lung problems than children in non-smoking families.
Those whose minds are already made up will, of course, assume that this is another basis for indicting cigarette smoking. However, it seems to me that it could just as easily support the "constitutional theory." As a matter of fact, it reminded me of the idea that I rejected for so many years because it seemed so sell-serving, namely, the idea that lung problems cause smoking. As you will recall, the main reason I have recently dared to think about this reverse hypothesis a little bit is the inexplicably high incidence of cigarette smoking among workers who are occupationally exposed to lung irritants.
I am writing you partly to remind you of the idea and partly to ask if you can think of any way of testing the "reverse hypothesis."