In an extraordinary development, tobacco from Gibraltar is now being blamed in Spain for the high level of cancer in the Campo area. Antonio Escolar, public health chief at the Puerta Del Mar Hospital in Cadiz, has come up with a study about cancer in the Campo area.It has taken him two years to write, and concludes that there are other factors which are more responsible for the cancer than the effects of the industrial plant in the Campo.

Nobody had considered what happened before the existence of the industrial zone. Is it that there was no cancer then?

Reports in Spanish papers quote him as saying that general opinion over the Campo cancer had been linked to the industrial plants in the area. But in their study “we demonstrate something very important”, that this emerged before the existence of the industrial zone.

He goes on to say that between 25-30 years after the development of the industrial zone, the level of cancer has reduced.The study does not deny the possible impact of the industrial plants over cancer, but it is not the only explanation.

The existence of cancer was prior to the industrial zone being created and it related to tobacco and alcohol consumption, as well as other diseases.

Gibraltar emerges…In 1835 in Gibraltar, says the study, there were 42 tobacco factories which employed between 2,000 and 3,000 persons of the 15,000 Gibraltar had. There were also 880 tobacco outlets. Gibraltar would import much tobacco and the greater part of it would export towards the Campo and other parts of Spain. In 1952 there were between 12,000 and 13,000 Spanish workers in Gibraltar.

Tobacco allowed for the search of an important monetary income. There was a great difference, then and now, in the price of tobacco in Gibraltar and Spain. Tobacco was accessible and it provoked its very high use. Over time, it has been reflected in deaths.

Why did people have to go to Gibraltar, to be involved in tobacco?Because of the poor economic situation in the area nearby.

Gibraltar became, from the middle of the 19th century to the closure of the frontier, in an attractive economic unit because they needed labour. An inter-relation developed which included tobacco.

In 1966 there were 1,400 Spaniards working in the dockyard. The effect of asbestos is very important in respect of lung cancer. The study also refers to an ‘excessive consumption of cigarettes’ in the Campo in international reports in 1915 and 1931.

The study relates to risks produced by tobacco and asbestos, and pointa at Gibraltar. It seemed that Gibraltar had never had anything to do with it, says the study.

A Spanish radio said: Tobacco from Gibraltar to blame for Campo cancer, says study.