Balanced tobacco reporting at NYT

The New York Times’ coverage of the new Institute of Medicine report on smoking bans and heart attacks includes these passages:

Dr. Michael Siegel, professor of community health sciences at Boston University, said that such limitations were significant flaws and that the panel was being “sensationalistic” about the impact of smoking bans.

“Anybody could have told you without any kind of review that smoking bans don’t raise heart attacks,” Dr. Siegel said, but “it could be that they have an exceedingly small effect” and that reductions were “just occurring anyway” because of improvements in treatment of heart disease. […]

Dr. Siegel said that connection was “unequivocal,” but that a significant risk applied only in people who have severe heart disease. “An otherwise healthy person is not going to walk into a bar for 20 minutes and have a heart attack,” he said.

I’ve blasted the paper repeatedly for uncritically passing on unsubstantiated claims of tobacco researchers, so good for reporter Pam Belluck for writing a balanced piece.

Congrats also to Michael Siegel for getting his views included. If you missed his detailed rebuttal to the report, be sure to read it here.


2 thoughts on “Balanced tobacco reporting at NYT”

  1. You will have to get use to this type of gustapo regulations thanks to obama bin-ladin. You see he has taken the cuffs off and given cart blanch to the FDA and groups like ASH to go after Big Tobacco. Maybe they should try to pay more attention to something which has a much bigger negative affect on the general public like alcohol

  2. I am not a scientist or an expert in any of these things, but i would have thought that more than one factor causes heart attacks. The smoking ban in glasgow has, i feel, helped the city,(it made it easier for me to quit anyway) but poverty is the bigger killer here.

    Instead of smoking ourselves to death here it now appears in other reports that we drink, drug or eat ourselves to death instead.

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