Headline of the Day

WNEP TV: Smokers Die Early, Study Finds.

Thanks for clearing that up.


Posted by: Ted Feuerbach on June 23, 2004 12:22 AM

“WNEP TV: Smokers Die Early, Study Finds.”
Dan: “Thanks for clearing that up.”

The connections between Lung Cancer, Emphysema aka. COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder) and Heart Disease with smoking were demonstrated by retrospective studies in the 1950’s. I.e. look back at a random group of smokers and non-smokers and see what happened to them over time. Uncontrolled retrospective studies are only valid if you have an extremely large study cohort. They did. It may be the first time that such a study had this kind of impact. To this day people still challenge that report.

Epidemiologists and Public Health Officials (as do I), correctly, accept those findings as scientific fact.

However, don’t despair, there is a way to convince the doubters. The Gold Standard in Clinical Research is the double-blind controlled clinical study. We may have to conduct one of these studies. Here’s how it works:

We take a few thousand teenagers and randomly assign them to smoke or not to smoke. The participants cannot, of course, be aware if they are smoking or not. We then follow them for 50 years and check the clinical outcome.

Volunteers anyone?

Posted by: on June 23, 2004 08:58 AM

That should read “cigarette smokers”. According to the Surgeon General’s report, cigar smokers showed only a very slight increase in death rates. Pipe smokers actually lived longer than non smokers.

Posted by: on June 23, 2004 09:59 AM

This is a bit of a digression, but anyway . . .

As Dan’s comment pointed out, it is axiomatic to rational people that smoking kills people. They called cigarettes coffin nails back in the 40’s. My mother knew it was dangerous when she started smoking in the 1950’s; and she was proven right when she died at 60.

The idea that the Big, Bad Tobacco companies have been pulling the wool over our eyes (even if they were trying to do so) is nonsense. That is like blaming Johnny Cochran for the acquittal of OJ Simpson. The idiot teenagers who start smoking today are doing it with their eyes wide open.

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