Speaking of jumping sharks…

It’s too bad Michael Siegel is on vacation right now. I’m sure he’d have some choice words to say about this:

A coalition of health organizations honored two Helena doctors Monday, saying their work has helped lead to states and countries around the world acting to ban smoking in public buildings.

Dr. Robert Shepard and Dr. Richard Sargent were honored for their work by Protect Montana Kids, a coalition of the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, the American Heart Association and the American Lung Association of the Northern Rockies…

They also conducted a study that found that Helena’s heart-attack rate dropped 40 percent for the period when the ordinance was in effect and rose back to previous rates when the ban was later overturned…

“There are some criticisms of the study,” [Kristin Page-Nei, Montana government relations director for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network] said. “We felt this would be a good time to point out where the flaws in the criticism are.”

“Some criticisms” is an understatement. The study used a very small sample to draw wildly implausible conclusions about how quickly a smoking ban might reduce the number of heart attacks. Its ongoing citation by anti-smoking groups is one of the things that drives ban opponents and respectable tobacco researchers like Siegel up the wall. Granting this award demonstrates that these organizations value studies more for their propaganda value than their scientific credibility.

For critical background on the study, here’s Jacob Sullum, Dave Hitt, and of course Michael Siegel.

Comments

  1. mandyv says:

    I am sure Michael will have something to say about it, I agree.
    We had the same thing in Scotland, I cannot believe this is allowed to carry on. Who exactly (apart from anti propaganda) does it help? It does nothing for the integrity of the scientific community, and what then are we supposed to believe anymore.

    http://www.antiprohibition.org/ticap_pages.php?q=6
    1st World Conference Against Prohibition: “Smoking Bans and Lies”
    Brussels, at the European Parliament Building, 27/28 January, 2009

    freedom2choose.info for smokers and non-smokers alike, fighting for choice and TRUTH

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