Tuesday, 25 January 2011

More Tobacco Control 'Science By Press Release'

Belinda reports on the growing calls for legislation to ban smoking in cars in Scotland.

ASH have again experimented with sticking their pinched noses into private property, whilst the Evening News is also sold.

It's all on the back of new 'research' by NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, except that there is no sign of the report on their website. I was interested to study the methodology which came up with the laughable conclusion that smoking a cigarette in a car leads to an atmosphere "comparable to breathing in air in a large industrial city during a major smog event", so I asked to have a look-see.

The reply was, well, shall we say not such a surprise as it once would have been.

Dear Richard,

Thank you for your interest in the full smoking in cars research. I am sorry to say that that was an error in the press release. We are planning to have the research published in a peer review journal, so until that is carried out we are not able to provide the full report.

Regards
That's right. It's not published yet, and hasn't been peer-reviewed. Yet it's already been accepted as hard fact on the back of a press release.

We've seen this before, haven't we?

Can't Say

“Smoking ban cut heart attacks in Scotland by 17 per cent”, researchers and politicians trumpeted to the world in September through press releases, a conference and interviews, all faithfully reported. It was the ban what done it, they said... until six weeks later when official data halved the drop — to 8 per cent — against a trend immediately before the ban of a 5 or 6 per cent drop, and a fall a few years ago of 11. All of which makes it hard to be sure what, if any, effect the ban really had. The researchers went strangely silent.
That particular whopping fib was one of the many regurgitated by Kevin Barron in October's ten minute Rule Bill, you may remember.

This, unfortunately, is how tobacco 'science' works. It matters not if this turns out to be execrable nonsense (which, on previous experience, it most certainly will) as the lie is out there now, and dull-minded MSPs are no doubt already constructing soundbites around it.

Hardly surprising, then, that Horizon feels the need to explore why no-one trusts scientists anymore, is it?

I'd still like to look at the research, though. I wonder if there is any other way of getting hold of it?


12 comments:

Anonymous said...

Perhaps its time to start releasing our own 'research' such as:
'Clear proof that smoking protects from cancer.'
The fact that we have no evidence seems to have no bearing these days.

SadButMadLad said...

Last time the results of a research project were published before being peer reviewed or published in a journal was with cold fusion - and look at where that went.

Ivan said...

Thanks for another excellent post exposing the devious nature of the anti-tobacco industry.

Thanks also for once again bringing to our attention the mendacity of Jill Pell and Kevin Barron. The fact that both of these professional liars continue to be funded from our taxes is a national disgrace. At least we can blame the people of Rother Valley for re-electing Barron. I am not sure what Glasgow universitie's excuse is for Pell.

Anyone who wants to follow up on Scottish heart attacks can do so using the official government data published here http://www.isdscotland.org/isd/5779.html

Give or take 5 days in March 2006, for Acute Coronary Syndrome (Pell’s preference)I calculate:

12 months pre ban 7905
0-12 months post ban 7250
12-24 months post ban 8913
24-36 months post ban 7707

No real miracle there then but it doesn’t stop the anti-tobacco industry continuing to refer to Pell as if her work had some kind of integrity.

The lack of integrity throughout public health is contributing to the undermining of belief in science even though the protagonists are often not actually scientists. Pell is a non practicing medic which is definitely not the same thing.

Anonymous said...

"It also revealed the levels of harmful particulates inside smokers’ cars are comparable to breathing in air in a large industrial city during a major smog event."

Like this?

"More people died in 2002 from passive smoking at work in the UK than were killed by the Great London smog of 1952"
James Repace
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/2925633.stm

Oh really?

"To cover up the true extent of the smog disaster the government invented an influenza epidemic.
In fact research has shown there was no epidemic and that the thousands more people who continued to die for the next four months did so because of the air pollution."
http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk_news/story/0,3604,850909,00.html


Fear of political embarrassment led to government cover up of link between air pollution and lung cancer

"Delegates attending an international conference in London today to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Great London Smog of 1952, which caused an estimated 12,000 deaths, will hear how governments from the late 50s onwards deliberately downplayed the huge threat to public health caused by air pollution, and sought to shift the blame firmly onto cigarette smoking instead"
http://www.lshtm.ac.uk/news/2002/smogpollution.html

"Doll pioneered the argument that cancer is caused by smoking, a view contested by environmentalists who point to the dangers of pollution"
http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/lung-cancer-pioneer-was-on-chemical-firms-payroll-427609.html

Rose

subrosa said...

Did you see the Horizon programme Dick? It smacked of desperation. 'You've got to believe me, I'm the boss of the RA' type of propaganda.

Anonymous said...

Yes specially as they wheeled out head warmist Rose.
The royal society may end up a laughing stock due to this in a few years ,bit like the Met office and it's ex WWF director.

Ivan said...

Thanks for another excellent post exposing the devious nature of the anti-tobacco industry.

Thanks also for reminding us of the mendacity of the public health protagonists and of Mr Kevin Barron. The fact that these professional liars continue to be funded from our taxes is a disgrace. At least we can blame the people of Rother Valley for re-electing Barron. I am not sure what Glasgow universities’excuse is.

Anyone who wants to follow up on Scottish heart attacks can do so using the official government data published here

http://www.isdscotland.org/isd/5779.html

Give or take 5 days in March 2006, for Acute Coronary Syndrome I calculate:

12 months pre ban 7905
0-12 months post ban 7250
12-24 months post ban 8913
24-36 months post ban 7707

No real miracle there then but it doesn’t stop the anti-tobacco industry continuing to refer to the Glasgow study as if it and its authors possessed some kind of integrity.

The lack of integrity throughout public health is contributing to the undermining of belief in science in general even though much of the “junk” health science is not produced by scientists.

Anonymous said...

Dick

Do you have any idea of the authors and the title of the paper and where it was to be published? It's just possible I might be able to nose around ... It's a long shot, though.

Alan

Magnetic said...

You don’t even need the appearance of “science”.

A new study is urging lawmakers not to let science get in the way of sound policy when it comes to laws on children's exposure to secondhand smoke in cars.

http://www.montrealgazette.com/health/Science%20shouldn%20stand%20sound%20smoking%20policy%20study/4086184/story.html

Anonymous said...

I settled down to watch the Horizon programme yesterday with something of a sense of optimistic anticipation. At last the scientific community might have a chance to rescue its erstwhile excellent reputation and give the politicians, biased lobby groups and the MSM a bit of a public rollocking for bringing their profession into such disrepute purely for their own ends.

What a disappointment! I confess that I turned it over half-way through, because, far from addressing the original question – why had people lost their faith in science? – the programme seemed purely to be trying to convince the public that they were wrong to have done so. I particularly liked the way they interviewed the NASA scientist surrounded by all his very impressive-looking, data-collecting, interactive video screens, but then interviewed the “climate change denier” over a cup of tea in a cafĂ© off the local high street. It was as if they were saying “Look at the NASA man. He’s got all these gadgets. He must be right!” And then, immediately after that, they had the cheek make very pointed references to “cherry picking” data! Talk about pot calling the kettle black!!

Maybe if I’d sat through the whole thing they would have got around to doing what they could perfectly easily have done in the first place, and which would have answered the question posed in the title of the programme – i.e. simply stopped people in the street and asked them why they viewed pretty much all new scientific pronouncements these days with such scepticism. But my blood pressure couldn’t wait that long, and I’d be happy to bet my bottom dollar that they didn’t do any such thing, not even right at the end.

Yes, Subrosa. Desperation indeed.

SadButMadLad said...

When a good proportion of the general public say that they don't want to eat genetically modified food because it has genes in it then you know you need to start some distance back in the their education.

When the general public can understand basic science then it will be harder for certain groups to blind them with science.

FrankC said...

SadButMadLad @ 13:48.
The name has been changed but research into "cold fusion" is ongoing. I read recently that some researchers, in Italy I think, used 400w of input power to generate 12kw of heat, so not cold, but very impressively hot.