Thursday, November 23, 2006

Dr. Siegel demonstrates that epidemiological studies showing a very minor risk from SHS were cherry picked to arrive at a pre-determined conclusion

Here Dr. Siegel re-examines a 1997 Study on Secondhand Smoke and Heart Disease. And finds that data which did not support the pro-smoking ban agenda was omitted so as not to taint the findings to what scientists wanted the studies to reveal. In other words the data was manipulated or fixed to arrive at a pre-determined agenda.

Now combine that manipulation with the fact that most of these pro-smoking ban researchers and groups received funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) which has direct ties to the Nicoderm manufacturer Johnson & Johnson Company, and you have an indictable offense worthy of an international investigation.

By the way, you probably noticed I used the words "very minor risk" in the title, here's the 1997 study's relative risk ratio and my question to Dr. Siegel:

"....a pooled relative risk of 1.30 (95% confidence interval, 1.22-1.3"

Dr. I have heard from several experts that a relative risk ratio of less than 2.0 is typically not published in a medical journal such as BMJ or the JAMA. In fact what I've heard is that unless a relative risk ratio is 3.0 or higher it is not deemed a credible finding worthy of publishing in either medical journal. Could you comment on any other issue, besides tobacco, which was given "credible finding" status even though the risk ratio was less than 2.0?

Any of you in the pro-smoking ban movement are free to answer the question above.......if you can.

Update: GreatScot, a regular contributor to Dr. Siegel's website, provides some additional information:

Risk Ratio's less than 2. Interesting reading.


A 30 percent increase means a relative risk (also known as risk ratio, or RR) of 1.3. (On the risk scale, zero risk is set at 1.0, not 0.0.) Actually, the American Heart Association website lists the following RRs: 1.25 for cardiovascular heart disease, 1.18 for ischemic heart disease, and 1.13 for arrhythmic heart failure or coronary arrest mortality. The RRs for cell phones, computers, hair dryers, and electric blankets are all between 3.0 and 4.0. The risk of getting cancer from drinking municipal tap water that tens of millions of Americans drink every day is 2.0 to 4.0. So why be concerned about a relative risk of 1.3 to the heart from ETS? It so happens that 1.3 is the exact RR for shortening your life by drinking three cups of coffee per WEEK. That will give you some perspective on the severity of the alleged heart “danger.”

Both the World Health Organization and the American Cancer Society have clearly stated that RRs below 2.0 are too low to be relied upon. And a report by the independent health consulting firm Littlewood and Fennell characterized RRs less than 2.0 as “dancing on the tiny pinhead of statistical insignificance.” Compare this to the claim of “rapid and large” harmful effects from an RR of 1.3. A wealth of published literature dismisses relative risks less than 2.0 (100%) as being insignificant. And Dr. Eugenia Calle, Director of Analytic Epidemiology at the American Cancer Society, has stated the RRs below 1.3 are too low even to be realistically identified, much less be dangerous.

Why aren’t RRs less than 2.0 significant when they can represent impressive sounding percentage increases? The main reason is confounding variables. There are at least 20 of these that have been identified for ETS and heart disease, including: heredity, consumption of fat, consumption of fruits and vegetables, exercise and physical activity, type of employment, ethnic background, cholesterol, socio-economic class, etc. Any one of these could account for an impressive percentage increase in disease, yet no study of ETS has ever come close to controlling for even a large share of these variables. And there could be others that haven’t yet been identified.

It is no wonder, therefore, that Dr. Marcia Angell, editor of the New England Journal of Medicine, one of the world’s leading medical journals, says, “As a general rule, we are looking for a relative risk of 3.0 or more.” Dr. Robt. Temple, director of drug evaluation for the FDA, says, “My basic rule is if the relative risk isn’t at least 3 or 4, forget it.” And the EPA declined to regulate high-voltage power lines because it said the RRs seldom exceeded 3.0.

Hmm... one can only conclude that smoking bans, financed by some very powerful special interest groups, wouldn't even be considered if it weren't for the money.

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