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The latest WHO report on passive smoking hides a world of pc skulduggery
THE WEB OF UNTRUTH BEHIND THE PASSIVE SMOKING WARRIORS
The new World Health Organisation report ‘proving’ a damning link between passive smoking and early mortality has dominated much of the health pages of our media today. But its methodology is not as robust as earlier studies before 2005 – almost all of which showed little or no correlation.
And significantly, the one man whose massive 2003 study condemned the ‘passive smoking myth’ was hounded from his California research job just ten weeks ago. The hand of bad-science political correctness is obvious for anyone to see in this man’s dismissal. Eco-warrior (and UCLA ‘colleague’ of Professor James E. Enstrom) Beate Ritz told the US media at the time:
“…based on his 2003 findings that second-hand cigarette smoke doesn’t kill people, he has been allowing his interpretations go beyond the data and his personal biases to be strong enough to not allow for a balanced and appropriately cautious interpretation of the numbers.”
The British Medical Journal disagreed. It published Enstrom’s paper in full at the time, and has never rubbished it since. But UCLA backed Ms Ritz with this extraordinary statement on 17th August this year:
“…his research is not aligned with the academic mission of the Department.”
Beate Ritz is as feminist, pc and green-obsessed as it’s possible to be. She is a leading light of the Chemical Policy Reform Group. The website is the standard chest-prodding stuff even those of us who recognise global warming have come to loathe: all polemic and no contradictions, if you please. For the CRF, everything is a health-risk.
An unknown humorist once said that “Smoking is one of the leading causes of statistics.” I’ve studied more than my fair share over the years, because in the 1970s I had a tobacco client for many years. I resigned from the account in the end, because I could no longer square my own certainty of tobacco’s massive danger as a drug with helping the company market tobacco products.
The study is far and away the most robust available, and the only major one based on empirical results rather than varietal (and thus dodgy) causal relationships between lifestyle and passively ‘caught’ smoking diseases. It concluded in 2003:
‘The results do not support a causal relationship between passive smoking and mortality. There is a positive correlation, but it is too small to be significant.’
Speaking on a US radio programme at the time, Enstrom said:
“Basically I found that there was no relationship in terms of increased risk between the spousal smoking history and the long-term risk of death from coronary heart disease and lung cancer. There’s a possibility for a slight increase for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, but none of the results were statistically significant.”
The medical Establishment and its mother jumped on the study at the time, but last year James remained unrepentant, explaining:
“Not a single error was ever identified in that paper and I refuted all claims made against me and my research,” he said. “My work isn’t about being politically correct, it’s about honest research and being faithful to the science.”
But James Enstrom is not the first neutral researcher to cast doubt on the Health & Safety sector’s obsession with passive smoking. In February 2000, a team from Warwick University led by Professor John Copas and Dr Jian Qing Shi argued that findings from previous anti-smoking funded field studies were ‘unreliable’. Copas himself went on the record as a scientist to say that
“…research which suggests an increased risk is more likely to be published than research which does not…”
The team re-analysed 37 trials, concluding that most passive smoking risks were much lower than earlier findings suggested.
Now let’s turn to today’s release of the WHO study. Like a surveyor employed by the purchaser to find something wrong in a prospective property, so too a massive group like The World Health Organisation is hardly going to find that there’s nothing to worry about: and the same applies to our own Health & Safety Executive.
On the BBC website this morning, nothing in the WHO report is questioned. One has become accustomed to this with the overwhelmingly conformist news culture that exists there. Its health page leads with ‘passive smoking kills 600,000 worldwide’. Other gems of rigorous analysis include:
‘….passive smoking is particularly dangerous for children, said to be at higher risk of sudden infant death syndrome, pneumonia and asthma….Passive smoking causes heart disease, respiratory illness and lung cancer….. One-third of those killed are children, often exposed to smoke at home….’.
Neither the Enstrom study nor the Warwick reanalyses warranted a mention. Significantly, both categorically refute what the BBC presented as fact.
But the study measured no such thing: this assertion was gratuitously thrown into the report as a taster for the converted. The study measured airborne nicotine in public places: it did not prove any harm from this, and yet reached this insane conclusion:
‘The finding of airborne nicotine in crucial locations provides a basis for enforcing smoke-free initiatives’.
But what did this latest WHO study – ‘carried out in 192 countries’ – actually use as its methodology? Well, you shouldn’t hold your breath trying to get an answer. The best you’ll manage is this jargonized gobbledygook from yesterday’s Lancet – note my italics:
‘The burden of disease from second-hand smoke was estimated as deaths and disability-adjusted life-years (DALYs) for children and adult non-smokers. The calculations were based on disease-specific relative risk estimates and area-specific estimates of the proportion of people exposed to second-hand smoke, by comparative risk assessment methods, with data from 192 countries during 2004.’
Don’t reject that accusation out of hand: the WHO has form when it comes to suppressing things detrimental to its aims. In a very early online edition of the Daily Telegraph in 1998, then Health Correspondent Victoria MacDonald revealed a cover-up at the heart of WHO’s passive smoking programme. She wrote:
‘THE world’s leading health organisation has withheld from publication a study which shows that not only might there be no link between passive smoking and lung cancer but that it could even have a protective effect. The World Health Organisation, which commissioned the 12-centre, seven-country European study has failed to make the findings public, and has instead produced only a summary of the results in an internal report….Yet the scientists have found that there was no statistical evidence that passive smoking caused lung cancer. The research compared 650 lung cancer patients with 1,542 healthy people. It looked at people who were married to smokers, worked with smokers, both worked and were married to smokers, and those who grew up with smokers.
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The results are consistent with their being no additional risk for a person living or working with a smoker and could be consistent with passive smoke having a protective effect against lung cancer. The summary, seen by The Telegraph, also states: “There was no association between lung cancer risk and ETS [environmental tobacco smoke] exposure during childhood.”