If You Question the Deadliness of Secondhand Smoke, You Might As Well Question the Deadliness of Zyklon B

Writing in the European Journal of Public Health, anti-smoking activists Pascal Diethelm and Martin McKee liken people who question the health hazards of secondhand smoke to people who do not believe HIV causes AIDS, people who think the world was created 6,000 years ago, people who are not persuaded that smoking causes cancer, people who maintain that climate change has "nothing to do with man-made CO2 emissions," and people who deny that the Holocaust happened. They say all are dishonest or deluded "denialists," trying to create controversy where there is no legitimate basis for it. Michael Siegel, an anti-smoking activist who agrees that prolonged exposure to secondhand smoke increases the risk of lung cancer and heart disease but questions some of the more extreme claims made by smoking ban advocates, likens Diethelm and McKee to religious fanatics. He has a point:

Diethelm and McKee have endangered the integrity of public health by comparing those who challenge the conclusion that secondhand smoke causes heart disease and lung cancer with those who deny the Holocaust. As a primarily science-based movement, public health is supposed to have room for those who dissent from consensus opinions based on reasonable scientific grounds. To argue that those who fail to conclude that the small relative risk for lung cancer of 1.3 among persons exposed to secondhand smoke is indicative of a causal connection are comparable to Holocaust deniers is to turn public health into a religion, where the doctrines must be accepted on blind faith to avoid being branded as a heretic.

While I personally believe the evidence is sufficient to conclude that secondhand smoke causes heart disease and lung cancer, there are a considerable number of reputable scientists who have come to different conclusions. While I believe those scientists are wrong, I would never argue that they are denialists, nor would I ever compare their dissent with Holocaust denial.

Diethelm and McKee appear to be basing their assessment that secondhand smoke "dissenters" are "denialists" not on the reasonableness of the scientific arguments, but on the position of these arguments. This is a dangerous proposition which threatens the integrity of public health by turning it into a purely ideological movement, rather than a scientific one.

Clearly, no dissent is allowable from the doctrines of tobacco control in Diethelm's and McKee's perspective. This perspective brands hundreds of reputable scientists throughout the world as denialists, no different from Holocaust deniers. While I disagree wholeheartedly with these scientists, I will stand up for their right to express their dissenting opinions without having their characters assassinated because of the direction, rather than the scientific reasonableness, of their positions.

In reply, Diethelm and McKee reject Siegel's analogy while hanging on to theirs, saying they are not advocating censorship of denialists. Of course, Siegel never said they were. Instead they are advocating branding, ad hominem attacks, and blithe dismissal. Diethelm and McKee say "the normal academic response to an opposing argument is to engage with it, testing the strengths and weaknesses of the differing views, in the expectations that the truth will emerge through a process of debate." But this is not possible with denialists, they say, so real scientists (the ones who agree with Diethelm and McKee) should "shift the debate from the subject under consideration, instead exposing to public scrutiny the tactics [the denialists] employ and identifying them publicly for what they are."

We get an idea of what this means in practice from Diethelm and McKee's speculation about the motivations of people who disagree with them:

For some it is greed, lured by the corporate largesse of the oil and tobacco industries. For others it is ideology or faith, causing them to reject anything incompatible with their fundamental beliefs. Finally there is eccentricity and idiosyncrasy, sometimes encouraged by the celebrity status conferred on the maverick by the media.

Might a sincere difference of opinion about what the evidence shows play a role as well? Not when you're dealing with denialists.

Speaking of science distorted by "ideology or faith," Diethelm and McKee say one of the tactics employed by denialists is "inversionism, in which some of one's own characteristics and motivations are attributed to others"—a wonderful demonstration of inversionism as well as a definition. Diethelm and McKee display a similar lack of self-awareness when they note with distaste that "pro-smoking groups have often used the fact that Hitler supported some antismoking campaigns to represent those advocating tobacco control as Nazis." This comes one page after they compare secondhand smoke skepticism to Holocaust denial.

Another indication of Diethelm and McKee's M.O. is their reference to a 2003 British Medical Journal study that found no association between secondhand smoke exposure and lung cancer or heart disease. They say the study was "later shown to suffer from major flaws, including a failure to report competing interests." This (false) insinuation that the authors of the study, James Enstrom and Geoffrey Kabat, had a financial stake in the outcome is the only "flaw" Diethelm and McKee cite. A "failure to report competing interests" is not a methodological weakness, and it does not in any way invalidate a study. That requires showing that there were serious problems with the way the researchers collected or analyzed their data. Except when you're dealing with denialists.

On his blog, Siegel discusses another journal article whose authors assert that failing to agree that smoking bans cause immediate, dramatic reductions in heart attacks is enough to put you on par with "the self-styled AIDS dissidents who continue to deny the causal link between HIV and AIDS."

[via The Rest of the Story]

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  • Jennifer||

    If secondhand smoke were as dangerous as people say, funding Social Security wouldn't be a problem because every Baby Boomer in America would already be dead, and the older half of Gen X would be dying. The child of two non-smoking American parents in the 1950s was probably exposed to more secondhand smoke than the child of two smoking parents today. SO where's the evidence of mass lung-cancer and emphysema epidemics striking down the majority of American over age 30?

  • ||

    Nazi's are always Godwinning threads.

    The irony. It burnz us! Yes it does.

  • ||

    Michael Siegel is just angry because the battle isn't being fought on his terms. When people make bogus claims based on thin or nonexistent evidence, they should be called out. Some people, like Michael Siegel, will do it with class, like asking for the Grey Poupon. Others will yell at the top of their lungs.

  • Curious George||

    More alar science from the people who brought you global cooling of the 70s. Exactly where is the evidence that second hand smoking causes cancer?

    If you believe this then what does sitting on the NJ Turnpike do to you?
    What does breathing in jet fumes at an airport do to you?

    BS baffles brains.

    There is no facist like a leftwing one.

  • DADIODADDY||

    I understand that anecdotal evidence is not intrinsically determinative, however, I smoked for 20 some years and didn;t get cancer. My parents smoked and didn't get cancer. I'm not saying there is no link bewteen smoking and cancer (or heart disease) but clearly the phenomenon is not so completely understood with respect to other contributing factors. These factors must exist, otherwise everyone who smoked would get cancer AND heart disease. Having written the preceding sentence am I now to be shunned?

  • Citizen Nothing||

    Diethelm and McKee. More anti-semite, homophobe midget-kickers.

  • ||

    I work with some Public Health types. Despite whatever cursory glance at "science" they may have had in University, I can attest that, from what I can tell, they are operating solely on ideology and faith.

  • ||

    Here's what I want to know: why does the scientific community, as a whole, put up with this orthodoxy shit? Jacob--Is there actually any serious internal movement to do something about it?

    It's already happened in climate research, where those who don't completely buy into the Coming Apocolypse™ are publicly slandered by the leading proponents.

    If scientists don't get a handle of this soon, one day they'll find themselves marginalized by the public as little more than a propaganda arm of the state.

  • DADIODADDY||

    The opposite of science is not religion, but wishful thinking

  • ||

    Diethelm and McKee. More anti-semite, homophobe midget-kickers.

    Yeah and I bet they're Keynesians too!

  • Neu Mejican||

    While it is clear that "comparing those who challenge the conclusion that secondhand smoke causes heart disease and lung cancer with those who deny the Holocaust" is unwarranted.

    Some of the comments might warranted such a comparison.

    E.G., quibbling over whether an relative risk of 1.3 is a meaningful effect size in a study with a HUGE sample size is much different than claiming that there is no evidence of a connection because baby-boomers were exposed to more second hand smoke than we are today.

    I do find this ironic:
    Speaking of science distorted by "ideology or faith," Diethelm and McKee say one of the tactics employed by denialists is "inversionism, in which some of one's own characteristics and motivations are attributed to others"-a wonderful demonstration of inversionism as well as a definition. Diethelm and McKee display a similar lack of self-awareness when they note with distaste that "pro-smoking groups have often used the fact that Hitler supported some antismoking campaigns to represent those advocating tobacco control as Nazis." This comes one page after they compare secondhand smoke skepticism to Holocaust denial.

    In the context of JS working for the publication he works for.

    But that's just me.

  • ||

    In discussions I have had with PH anti-smoking people, they have immediately caved the second you confront them on the validity of the evidence. Either they know it's crap or they just don't feel like putting any effort into arguing their side.

    They are playing a numbers game. They know that most people are more than fine with their baseless pseudo-scientific assertions. What should they care that one overly-analytical crank thinks that they are full of BS?

  • ¢||

    clearly the phenomenon is not so completely understood with respect to other contributing factors

    It is, though.

    Smoking alone, unconfounded, increases the likelihood of getting a known list of diseases by known percentages (mostly making very rare diseases merely rare). So, seemingly, does being constantly surrounded by other people's smoke, but by an amount that's hard to distinguish from statistical noise (hence the conflicting interpretations). There's really nothing else to know, only numbers to be slightly nudged.

    But there's a huge gap between what's known and what can, in the name of Science!, justify ostracism of smokers and the erecting of a massive apparatus of law and bureaucracy against the stinky bastards, so it gets filled with terroristic bullshit and inverted Nazi analogies.

    And if this reminds you of anything from the History Channel, well...

  • Neu Mejican||

    ¢,

    Nicely put.
    Worth 2 ¢'s

  • bill||

    Zyklon B was often released in German hospital wards during WW2 to control lice and other pests.

  • Tyler||

    I had this debate yesterday with my professor, who is a public-health prgressive.

    He didn't want to debate smoking bans on scientific evidence, which was fine with me because I'm not familiar with all the science.

    But what it came down to was our difference in our definition of "rights." He not only stretches rights to mean positive rights, but includes "good health" as a right that our government must provide, obviously including bad health prevention and socialized medicine.

    The sick thing wasn't this one guy's opinion.

    It's that it seemed like I was the only student in the class that disagreed.

  • ||

    I can't understand what is wrong with these people.

    I think it must be some kind of combination of team mentality, social signalling, and ... well what's the word for when you rationalize something that's in your self interest as a public interest?

    Ya know ... I want free shit, other people want free shit, if we get together and agree that we should all get free shit it becomes a "public" interest. Then we can all say the right things together to signal that we're all part of the "getting free shit" team, and anyone that disagrees is The Enemy, who must be outcast. If we get rid of all the dissenters who point out that we're just trying to steal then we'll get our free shit, cause nobody will oppose us.

  • Naga Sadow||

    Tyler,

    I know the feeling. There was a big debate in my American Government class last semester over torture. EVERYONE except me was for torturing detainees. Sickening.

  • JB||

    'Scientists' that have a problem with questions are not scientists. They are walking talking pieces of shit.

  • ||

    The first and best indication that someone is lying and knows it is them engaging in hyperbole in describing anyone who disagrees with them. The weaker the case, the more over the top the defense of it is. See global warming for another example of this phenomenon.

  • JW Gacy||

    Ouch, Naga.

    Btw, did you know that your comment is hilarious if you skip over the word, "for?"

  • Naga Sadow||

    John,

    What? So you're one of those global warming deniers as well? I bet you're angling for some sort of Waterworld type global event. Do you own an oil tanker and a jet ski?

    *takes a look at what I have written*

    There appears to be something to your argument.

  • ||

    I am not surprised Naga. That is why the Dems are insane if they go after Bush. The fact is that most people don't care. That may not be a pleasent fact but it is a fact nonetheless.

  • Naga Sadow||

    JW Gacy,

    Hmmmmmmm. Well I do think of human life as expendable . . .

  • ||

    what's the word for when you rationalize something that's in your self interest as a public interest

    Politics?

  • Rick Gozinia||

    I for one accept that secondhand smoke is hazardous. I think libertarians are missing the boat in focusing on whether or not it is hazardous, (whether or not there is global warming, etc) instead of the real question germaine to liberty: Will we allow adults to assume the risk of being in contact with secondhand smoke voluntarily?

  • Citizen Nothing||

    I like Gozinia's proposition. I'm willing to concede that every goddamn thing is dangerous.

  • ||

    Gozinia, I think attacking the "science" behind the Ever Larger State agenda is a valid exercise in and of itself. If we can get people to relfexively distrust studies that just happen to call for the Ever Larger State, that will be a good thing.

  • ||

    The second hand smoke crusade has been a croc from day one. Go back and look at the debate over smoking. Originally, doctors started to notice that smoking was dangerous because a very high percentage of long time smokers were getting lung cancer. The first smoking studies were nothing but brutal correlation studies. The tobacco industry countered with the famous "X" factor argument. They argued that since no one has ever been able to show what it is about smoking causes lung cancer, maybe there is another "X" factor out there that is the real cause of the higher incidence of cancer among smokers and smoking is getting a bad rap.

    The point of recannting that argument is to remind people that the whole reason that we figured out smoking was dangerous was the huge correlation between heavy smoking and lung cancer. Now if second hand smoke really were that dangerous, there never would have been such strong correlation between smoking and lung cancer. Everyone smokers and those around smokers would have been getting lung cancer and it would have been well neigh impossible to figure out the culperate. For that reason the science on second hand smoke has always been very suspect. But the anti-smoking crusade ignored that and latched onto it because proving second hand smoke was harmful was the only way to ban an activity that was otherwise strictly a lifestyle choice.

  • ||

    Fuck the smokers. They keep letting their cigarette smoke get everywhere. It stinks, it makes everyone cough who isn't used to it, and it makes EVERYTHING smell bad.

    If they just smoked pot like everyone else, no one would care. There. I said it. Smokers, for the love of God, Science, and FSM, JUST SMOKE POT!!!

  • The Angry Optimist||

    Smokers, for the love of God, Science, and FSM, JUST SMOKE POT!!!

    Please. there's enough retardation and paranoia in the world. We don't need to make it the norm.

  • Zeb||

    I agree that cigs smell bad (except when you are trying to quit). Pipes and cigars, on the other hand, smell great and make everything else smell good too. So if pot's not your thing, at least consider a switch to some nice pipe tobacco.

  • DADIODADDY||

    ¢
    If what you say is true, ..."that "Smoking alone, unconfounded, increases the likelihood of getting a known list of diseases by known percentages (mostly making very rare diseases merely rare). So, seemingly, does being constantly surrounded by other people's smoke, but by an amount that's hard to distinguish from statistical noise (hence the conflicting interpretations). There's really nothing else to know, only numbers to be slightly nudged."

    Then the it should be an exercise to determine who will get what disease at what specific point in their smoking career, and not be lumped together under the curve by some indeterminate mechanism. Statistical correlation (even strongly correlated statistics) without causal mechanics falls under the heading of "lies, damn lies & statistics" or as I like to call it, bullshit

  • Rimfax||

    Ah! So, they plan on reinventing SourceWatch.org.

    For a taste of what I mean see:
    - "Reason Foundation"
    - "Reason Magazine"
    - "Jacob Sullum"
    - "Radley Balko"

  • MattXIV||

    The "denialism" thing is simply a PR script that was developed to try to shift the debate away from the actual policy question and onto an ad hom argument about your opponent. Essentially, it works by alleging your opponent is a "denialist" and saying that you don't debate "denialists" because they argue in bad faith, so you opponent has to prove their not a denialist first. Of course, there's no way for your opponent to actually prove that they're arguing in good faith, and it doesn't really matter anyway since arguments succeed or fail on their merits, but this allows you to avoid actually having to answer arguments.

    If necessary to keep the topic on your opponent, you bring the people who share the same position on the issue but are dishonest - if your opponent rebukes the dishonest person who agrees with them, you treat it as if they conceded the burden is on them to prove that they're not a "denialist" since the people who agree with them are; if they don't, you treat it as them admitting that they accept dishonest tactics and thus are a "denialist".

    These guys have been promoting this tactic for a while now and may have been the inspiration since the rhetoric seems very similar. One of them refered to opposition to net neutrality regulations as "denialism", which tells you about all you need to know about their intellectual honesty. It's really quite unfortunate since they seem dead set on turning discourse about science and public policy into exactly what the cranks allege it is.

  • Neu Mejican||

    RC Dean,

    If we can get people to relfexively distrust studies that just happen to call for the Ever Larger State, that will be a good thing.

    It will be a good thing if people react emotionally rather than rationally?

    DADIODADDY | February 13, 2009, 4:51pm | #
    Then the it should be an exercise to determine who will get what disease at what specific point in their smoking career, and not be lumped together under the curve by some indeterminate mechanism. Statistical correlation (even strongly correlated statistics) without causal mechanics falls under the heading of "lies, damn lies & statistics" or as I like to call it, bullshit


    You are misreading the claim: smoking increases the risk, all by itself. Increasing the risk is not the same as "causing the disease."

  • ||

    These guys have been promoting this tactic for a while now and may have been the inspiration since the rhetoric seems very similar. One of them refered to opposition to net neutrality regulations as "denialism", which tells you about all you need to know about their intellectual honesty.

    Wow. What a trio of self-absorbed, narcissistic twits. They don't want an honest discussion; they want an echo chamber and the right to mock that which they don't agree with. (Two doctors and a lawyer -- BIG surprise.)

    I'm down with all of that, it's your blog, do any damn thing you want with it, but be honest about your intentions. These self-appointed Solomons don't even make the attempt to be honest, excepting that they want to shut down debate on that they, always the smartest guys in the room, deem irrefutable.

  • ||

    What the hell happened to "the dose makes the poison"?

  • Neu Mejican||

    JW,

    Are you denying that cranks exist and have a distorting effect on public discourse?

    I must admit that running a blog dedicated to exposing "cranks" requires that you exhibit many features of the classic crank...


    Oh irony.

  • Neu Mejican||

    Kwix | February 13, 2009, 6:01pm | #
    What the hell happened to "the dose makes the poison"?


    Nothing.
    The studies on second-hand smoke are attempts to determine what dose makes the poison.

  • ||

    Are you denying that cranks exist and have a distorting effect on public discourse?

    Of course not. But to begin with the assumption that certain subjects (we're not talking flat earth or whether monsters *are* under my bed) is not honest. If anything, it's anti-intellectual.

    I can dig where they're coming from, to a point. I've made it a personal rule that I don't get dragged into purely ideological arguments. I'll discuss issues or ideas that will, by default, be tied to politics or ideology, but I'm done with Team Red/Blue.

    As I said, if you're going to do it, be honest about your intentions, instead of dressing it up as an intellectual exercise, when in reality it's designed to shut down debate.

    James Randi is a good example of the opposite dynamic at work. He will actively debunk what he considers to be fraud or flatly false. That's not happening there, at least from what I saw.

  • Neu Mejican||

    JW,

    But to begin with the assumption that certain subjects (we're not talking flat earth or whether monsters *are* under my bed) is not honest. If anything, it's anti-intellectual.

    Sure, sure, but the blog seems to be dedicated to talking about tactics not topics...based on my most cursory browse of it.

  • MattXIV||

    NM,

    The part about tactics is largely a bait and switch, since they acknowledge that when arguing for a correct position the tactics they cite as "denialist" are legitimate. I put together an example of an argument against the heavy metal suicide panic of the 80s that was making valid arguments while drawing entirely from tactics they identified as "denialist." Their response was that it's only "denialism" when it's used in defense of a position that is wrong, so it's back to the question of whether the fundamental position is right or not, which they refuse to debate with people they accuse of being "denialists".

    They go after real cranks, but they use that fact to conflate people who have defensible intellectual positions with cranks whenever the opportunity presents itself.

  • ||

    The studies on second-hand smoke are attempts to determine what dose makes the poison.

    Yes, but second-hand smoke politics is unconcerned with the dosage, at least any above zero.

  • ||

    You guys are still obsessing about second-hand smoke? Haven't you heard that third-hand smoke is all the rage these days?

  • ||

    Here in the Peoples' Republic of North Dakota, we get taxpayer-sponsored shit like this

  • ||

    Would anyone think poorly of me for wanting to put these two assholes in a big fucking blender along with Leon Lett and hitting the puree button?

    Oh, sorry, I guess I was channeling Jamie Kelly there for a moment.

  • Pablo Escobar||

    Juis:

    No everyone here is used to your comments about microwaving kiddies and putting puppies in blenders. Why would anyone think you're an asshole just because you propose doing it to people?

    By the way have you been a servant of Satan for a long time. I had it on good terms that you were merely a subcontractor.

  • DADIODADDY||

    You are misreading the claim: smoking increases the risk, all by itself. Increasing the risk is not the same as "causing the disease."...

    If I may restate, if I'm 100 feet under water with no breathing apparatus I've got a strong statistical correlation with dying. I also have a casual mechanism for that death, i.e. drowning. I now have A+B=C, water + no air = drowning. Lets try this with smoking, cigarette smoke + (?) = lung cancer or heart disease. Solve for (?). Until we figure out what causes cancer or heart disease, we might as well say thay kittens & puppies (statistically correlated of course) cause cancer/heart disease. Correlation is not causation

  • Neu Mejican||

    Dadiodaddy,

    Again, you seem unclear on the concept of relative risk.

    Risk of lung cancer = x

    Some protective factors will reduce that risk to less than x
    Some risk factors will increase risk to greater than x

    In the absence protective factors, smoking increases your risk of of lung cancer to greater than x.

    This does not involve solving for the cause of the cancer. It is not a statement about the cause of cancer.

    So, yes, someone making a claim that "smoking causes cancer" would need evidence beyond demonstrating an increased risk.

    I will point out, however, that this additional evidence is also available in spades. Whether or not it is 100% verified is debatable.

  • Neu Mejican||

    Daddiodaddy,

    BTW, relative risk can be used at some point to make a meaningful contribution to a causal claim.

    Smoking increases relative risk of lung cancer by more than 30 to 1 depending on what type of cancer you are talking about (so from our numbers above risk goes from x to more than 30x).

    If a single risk factor raises your relative risk by a factor of 30 to 1, it is not unreasonable to assume a causal connection.

  • ||

    The dose makes the poison? Of course this is true of every poison that exists in the world..... apart from smoke. 'There is NO safe dose of tobacco smoke'.An amazing scientific fact, we are told. Anyone who can count to ten would know this cannot be true, so what does that say about the so called scientists who believe it?
    EVERYONE would die from cyanide poisoning etc and no survivers, but people smoke for 50, 60 70, years and in many cases a whole lot more and are still walking around enjoying life. Some poison that smoke eh?

  • ||

    SHS compared to the below, is like trying to an ant named Edgar in China. We all are breathing in lots each day, so there is no point in banning smoking anywhere.

    DIRECT MEASUREMENT read-outs from BC AirCare laboratories indicate that vehicular emissions 1995 in the Vancouver's Lower Mainland amount to 324,500 tons, or 2 pounds per person per day. How does that compare with 0.5 millionth of a gram per cubic foot of Environmental Tobacco Smoke in a normally ventilated room ???

    The equivalent of the smoke of over 24,300,000 cigarettes is left behind each hour on the runway of the Vancouver airport by airplanes. The non-smoking Vancouver airport is ventilated with outside air.

    A reality that City Councils and antismoking physicians and crusaders simply prefer to ignore, but why ???

    This would be the same for all airport, and how many are they World wide.

    Wayne

  • ||

    People who want smoking banned are killers, and not very nice people at all, they waste money on trying to get smoking banned, when they could be saving lives, all they want is to see other people suffer.

    Vehicular emissions have far more toxic substances then cigarettes, they and planes are the real cause for the higher cancer rates UK Government statistics from 1970 to 2006 show smoking is in decline worldwide. in 1970, 45% of the UK smoked, now in 2006, only 25% smoke, that is means the total smokers in the UK in the last 36 years has nearly halved, HOWEVER cancer is on the rise, Between 1971 and 2003, the age-standardised incidence of cancer increased by around 17 per cent in males and 40 per cent in females.

    So we wonder why do the Government waste all these Millions on a smoking bans, it's over 50Million in the UK, and Billions in the USA, but these Billions have been wasted, nothing good has come from them at all, only bad things, like more deaths from cancer, when the money in all these 30 years should have been spend on a cure for cancer and other.

    And when in the UK the N.H.S needs it so so bad please please please, lets help save lives and buy new machines for the Hospitals, and remember there are people out the waiting for life saving operations, and not one person can be named that has been harmed by passive smoke, and someone dieing from passive smoke is a joke, well actually it's not, this whole political propaganda of the passive smoke is a total disgrace, when there are so many dieing around the World, with all the money that has been wasted on the passive smoke, we could most properly eradicated most of the diseases like cancer.

    Wayne

  • ||

    If we can get people to reflexively distrust studies that just happen to call for the Ever Larger State, that will be a good thing.

    It will be a good thing if people react emotionally rather than rationally?


    Since when is skepticism an emotional reaction, Neu?

  • ||

    It seems that it is very difficult for some of
    the people writing to understand how it is with
    us who have a respiratdory disability, as a
    result of second hand smoke. To get a better
    understanding of how it is, just do a google search for 'SAFE Stories', where mine is the first one up, with others just as bad, making our lives one of second hand smoke avoidance every minute of the day, where ever we may be.
    Albert Benson
    27091 Puerta Del Oro
    Mission Viejo, CA 92691
    949-830-3854
    ajbenson@cox.net
    ---------------------------

  • DADIODADDY||

    Yo Albert, cough us up a piece of lung would ya?

  • DADIODADDY||

    Neu Mejican
    Wouldn't it be a bitch if it was all related to height, weight and the phase of the moon? I'll bet I could find at least 3 other factors that strongly correlated to increased risk of lung cancer/heart disease, that have not/can not be controled for in the analysis. Living strongly correlates to increased risk of lung cancer & heart disease. You are confusing increased risk with strong statistical correlation based on no causl mechanism(even a theoretical mechanism hmmm?)

  • Neu Mejican||

    Dadiodaddy,

    Again, increased risk can contribute to a causal claim. It can't be used in isolation to make a causal claim. Your grasp of scientific method seems pretty shallow. You don't seem to recognize the important words in what I wrote.

    And just to get us back to reality. You claim you will be able to find 3 other factors that strongly correlate to increased risk of lung cancer/heart disease that were not controlled for in the analysis.

    The quick response is...bullshit, particularly for lung cancer. The understanding of lung cancer is to the point that they are looking for the hidden/latent variables at this point. All the strongly correlated factors are pretty much worked out.

    That's right, you are full of shit on this one.

  • Neu Mejican||

    R C Dean,

    Since when does "reflexively distrust" = "skepticism"?

    "Reflex" typically refers to an unthinking response that does not engage higher thought processes.

  • ||

    "The "denialism" thing is simply a PR script that was developed to try to shift the debate away from the actual policy question and onto an ad hom argument about your opponent"


    Most in the public health community limit themselves to Ad Hom. These degenerates and a number of others, have gone well over that line, adapting something much more offensive.

    In case anyone does not understand the term; "Jew Baiting" is in no way insulting or critical of the Jewish Faith or People. It is a very nasty control tool which is often used against them even today.

    Calling a Jew a "denier" is equivalent to calling smokers "child abusers", it garners unanimous support with little that can be offered in defense.

    No one can take sides with a "denier" or a "child abuser" without drawing scorn from the crowd, so obediently they side safely with the crowd.

    The general public never really tuned into the reality; The tobacco industry or smokers were never the target of "social marketing" [See Health Canada] shenanigans. They always play to the larger crowd. That is the purpose of propaganda to seduce the larger group and school intolerance for their neighbors.

    "All propaganda has to be popular and has to accommodate itself to the comprehension of the least intelligent of those whom it seeks to reach."

    Adolf Hitler quote

    I can't say for sure if Adolph was referring to politicians directly, however most generally agree he was talking about obedient steeple.

    The demands they make in multi-million dollar advertising campaigns, framed as, controlling elected officials, [or so it seems] are also, more often than not; financed by those same Public officials. Which is another much larger tax issue, someone needs to examine.

    Today Smokers soon the obese and others are all fair game as long as the majority are behind them and always in support of "the greater good".

    McCarthy went down when people started saying Enough. For the forward going live and let live Liberal;[or many of them] somewhere the distinction was lost this was not "enough" in favor of Communism or even socialism. This was rather a demand for more personal rights and freedom. So many missed the distinction the ability to scream "McCarthyism" gained an inordinate share of traction, we now find ourselves at the opposite extreme.

    Every toxin which could harm us, is evaluated by the same process evaluation and acceptable safe levels of risk are established. Only second hand smoke has no evaluation, because in adapting a political pseudoscience front, The World Health Organization and its stakeholder partners, applied what is known as the "precautionary principle" implying maximum risk by a reversal of common sense.

    Total risk must be assumed, untill it is proven less. This empowers the "no safe level" nonsense and allows politicians to deliberately believe, the risk could be higher than the assessed risks of all other toxins.

    We are empowering fear and ignorance as the principle motivation for targeted oppressive laws and sin taxes. When we invite oppression of smaller defenseless groups, the bigots will always swarm. Tobacco Control is a social study, proof; most of us learned little from the mistakes of the 20th century.

    Turning the clock back a full hundred years, to a time many claim; we didn't know any better.

  • ||

    Anti-smoking advocates Pascal Diethelm and Martin McKee continue to repeat their analogy
    that "scientists who have challenged the causal
    connection between secondhand smoke and lung cancer are comparable to Holocaust deniers"

    This analogy is extremely offensive. Asserting that any risk-factor epidemiology generates "fact" of the same class of certainty as historical events, in particular The Holocaust, is utterly ridiculous. Are
    Diethelm & McKee saying that the historical truth of The Holocaust is no more certain than risk-factor epidemiology "truths"? That would very offensive.

    John P. A. Ioannidis has demonstrated that "most published research is false", and that certainly pertains specifically to risk-factor epidemiology.
    Are Diethelm & McKee implying that most Holocaust research is therefore also false?

    Diethelm & McKee need to apologize for repeating this analogy, and the European Journal of Public Health needs to apologize for publishing their analogy.

  • ||

    SUMMARY: The battle about secondhand smoke is not to say secondhand smoke has NO danger, it's to say the danger is so small it should hardly be considered a risk and has been grossly exaggerated to drive public fear. It's just my guess that there's more heart attacks in the US from the fear of second hand smoke (STRESS) than they're is from the actual smoke itself.

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