The 27 Percent Solution


The researchers who claim a smoking ban in Pueblo, Colorado, caused an immediate, dramatic reduction in heart attacks, like the researchers who claim a smoking ban in Helena, Montana, had an even bigger effect, are getting a second burst of publicity now that they've published their results. Unlike the witnesses to the Miracle of Helena, who reduced their initial claim of a 60 percent reduction in hospital admissions for heart attacks to 40 percent by the time their paper saw print, the true believers in Pueblo are sticking with their initial figure of 27 percent. And I am sticking with my original criticisms of the study, the most important one being that it is biologically impossible to eliminate one in four heart attacks within 18 months by reducing exposure to secondhand smoke, or even by encouraging smokers to quit. It is also curious that this dramatic effect seems to be limited to little towns here and there (so far only two), bypassing much larger jurisdictions with smoking bans.

The always sharp Michael Siegel dissects the Pueblo study's many flaws, while warning (once again) that the anti-smoking movement is in danger of losing all credibility by pushing patently ridiculous claims about the dangers of secondhand smoke and the life-saving power of smoking bans. Robert VerBruggen does the math, trying to figure out how a smoking ban could possibly have achieved the claimed results. Short answer: It couldn't have.

NEXT: Médecins Sans Poids

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  1. anti-smoking movement is in danger of losing all credibility

    But credibility has nothing to do with it. They need only have the biggest gang (which they have: the nonsmoking public) and voters and elected officials who are willing to abrogate the rights of a minority. The anti-smoking movement has passed well beyond the rational. And it doesn’t seem to matter.

  2. I’m surprised they didn’t mention that the local effects of human caused global warming have been abated over Pueblo as well.

  3. Yawn. Another post hoc, ergo propter hoc. Throw it on the pile.

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