Wednesday, March 31, 2004

WHO report "Passive smoking doesn't cause cancer "

Because the U.K.'s Telegraph recently removed this official report, which stated ("No increase in risk was detected "), CTA has retained a copy on our website for your analysis.

Passive smoking doesn't cause cancer - official
By Victoria Macdonald, Health Correspondent


THE world's leading health organization 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 astounding results are set to throw wide open the debate on passive smoking health risks. 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.


Despite repeated approaches, nobody at the WHO headquarters in Geneva would comment on the findings last week. At its International Agency for Research on Cancer in Lyon, France, which coordinated the study, a spokesman would say only that the full report had been submitted to a science journal and no publication date had been set.


The findings are certain to be an embarrassment to the WHO, which has spent years and vast sums on anti-smoking and anti-tobacco campaigns. The study is one of the largest ever to look at the link between passive smoking - or environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) - and lung cancer, and had been eagerly awaited by medical experts and campaigning groups.


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.


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 exposure during childhood."


A spokesman for Action on Smoking and Health said the findings "seem rather surprising given the evidence from other major reviews on the subject which have shown a clear association between passive smoking and a number of diseases." Roy Castle, the jazz musician and television presenter who died from lung cancer in 1994, claimed that he contracted the disease from years of inhaling smoke while performing in pubs and clubs.


A report published in the British Medical Journal last October was hailed by the anti-tobacco lobby as definitive proof when it claimed that non-smokers living with smokers had a 25 per cent risk of developing lung cancer. But yesterday, Dr Chris Proctor, head of science for BAT Industries, the tobacco group, said the findings had to be taken seriously. "If this study cannot find any statistically valid risk you have to ask if there can be any risk at all. "It confirms what we and many other scientists have long believed, that while smoking in public may be annoying to some non-smokers, the science does not show that being around a smoker is a lung-cancer risk." The WHO study results come at a time when the British Government has made clear its intention to crack down on smoking in thousands of public places, including bars and restaurants.


The Government's own Scientific Committee on Smoking and Health is also expected to report shortly - possibly in time for this Wednesday's National No Smoking day - on the hazards of passive smoking.

This report is obviously quite damaging to the "secondhand smoke is a deadly hazard" argument proliferated by the pharmaceutical industry (Nicoderm) funded smoking ban activists; which explains the reason, after years of this story being in the public domain, it was suddenly and inexplicably removed.

Air quality testing around the globe, conducted or sponsored by organizations such as Johns Hopkins, University of Washington, American Cancer Society, etc. etc. proves that when compared to OSHA workplace air quality guidelines secondhand smoke is NOT a workplace health hazard.....more here:

http://cleanairquality.blogspot.com/2010/10/air-quality-testing-of-secondhand-smoke.html


Update: since smoking ban activists like to cite former Surgeon General Carmona's report on secondhand smoke, here is an analysis that reduces his "report" to worthless drivel:

http://www.heartland.org/policybot/results/22150/Wheres_the_Consensus_on_Secondhand_Smoke.html


Federal Judicial Center's 2000 "Reference Manual on Scientific Evidence, Second Edition," the official guide for judges to understand and rule on science introduced in courtrooms.

According to the manual, nearly all the studies cited in Carmona's report wouldn't pass muster in a court of law because they are observational studies, the sample sizes are too small, or the effects they show are too negligible to be reliable.

For example, the Reference Manual states, "the threshold for concluding that an agent was more likely than not the cause of an individual's disease is a relative risk greater than 2.0." Few of the studies Carmona cites found relative risks this large, and most found risks in a range that included 1.0, which means exposure to secondhand smoke had no effect on the incidence of disease. In the world of real science, that's a knockout blow.

Most of the research Carmona cites was rejected by a federal judge in 1993, when the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) first tried to classify secondhand smoke as a human carcinogen. The judge said EPA cherry-picked studies to support its position, misrepresented the most important findings, and failed to honor scientific standards. Carmona's report relies on the same studies and makes the same claims EPA did a decade ago.

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