Anti-Smoking Groups Use Wrong Data to Make Big Claims

By Lindsay Fox Posted November 23, 2012

It is becoming increasingly evident that people in the powerful anti-smoking lobby are citing wrong data from badly conducted studies in order to bolster their claims about the dangers associated with smoking. Case in point is a new study that claimed that Olmsted County, Minnesota was able to bring about an impressive decrease of 34% in heart attacks and 17% in sudden cardiac deaths merely by passing ordinances to make restaurants and bars smoke-free areas.


This study was published online and also in the Archives of Internal Medicine, and what really drew the careful reader’s attention was the fact that it was not conducted in a scientific manner. For instance, the study lacked a comparison group. It is a known fact that results will be spurious unless the study is conducted well.


It is interesting to see how the anti-smoking lobby is using “facts” from such studies to drive home their point regarding the dangers of smoking. In fact, Richard Hurt who is associated with the Mayo Clinic and is one of the people behind this study prefers to ignore data when requiring people to accept as a fact that second hand smoke causes cancer. A perusal of the actual facts will show one that the ban had no positive effect on decrease in heart attack rates.


What seems to be happening is that the anti-smoking lobby states things loud enough and often enough in order to make the general public believe them. At the same time, the tobacco industry is no longer making efforts to counter this propaganda, perhaps because it perceives that that this is a strategically expedient policy. As a matter of fact, many people believe this to be a very effective strategy since people were beginning to associate the tobacco industry with unscientific claims concerning the effect of tobacco smoking on health. What seems very likely is that the general public will no longer believe what the anti-smoking groups state so strenuously (and erroneously).


There is a lot more to read on this very interesting subject. Click here to read the rest of the analysis of this trend.