Science: On second thought, no, secondhand smoke won’t kill you

posted at 9:21 pm on December 19, 2013 by Mary Katharine Ham

Now it can be told. Now that smoking has been banned everywhere but the dryer vent at your apartment based on the notion that secondhand smoke kills everyone around you, The Journal of the National Cancer Institute can tell us this via Jacob Sullum:

The article describes a large prospective study that “confirmed a strong association between cigarette smoking and lung cancer but found no link between the disease and secondhand smoke.” The study tracked more than 76,000 women, 901 of whom eventually developed lung cancer. Although “the incidence of lung cancer was 13 times higher in current smokers and four times higher in former smokers than in never-smokers,” says the JNCI article, there was no statistically significant association between reported exposure to secondhand smoke and subsequent development of lung cancer. “We don’t want people to conclude that passive smoking has no effect on lung cancer,” says one of the researchers, Stanford oncologist Heather Wakelee. “We think the message is, this analysis doesn’t tell us what the risk is, or even if there is a risk.”

While hardly the last word on the subject, the study has advantages over most of the research commonly cited as evidence that secondhand smoke causes lung cancer. “To our knowledge,” the authors say, “this is the first study to examine both active and passive smoking in relation to lung cancer incidence in a complete prospective cohort of US women.” The prospective design avoids a weaknes of studies that start with lung cancer cases and “match” them to controls. “Many studies that showed the strongest links between secondhand smoke and lung cancer were case-control studies, which can suffer from recall bias,” notes the JNCI article, since “people who develop a disease that might be related to passive smoking are more likely to recall being exposed to passive smoking.”

Yet another instance where the Left is more than happy to make up science as long as they can use the made-up science to take away people’s freedoms. Sullum finds the indictment of the scientist/public health industrial complex in the article:

Jyoti Patel, MD, of Northwestern University School of Medicine said the findings were not new….

“Passive smoking has many downstream health effects—asthma, upper respiratory infections, other pulmonary diseases, cardiovascular disease—but only borderline increased risk of lung cancer,” said Patel. “The strongest reason to avoid passive cigarette smoke is to change societal behavior: to not live in a society where smoking is a norm.”

In other words, although the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will tell you that “secondhand smoke causes an estimated 3,400 lung cancer deaths among U.S. nonsmokers each year,” scientists have long understood that the actual number might be closer to zero.

But it’s not like it matters to the statists. They’re happy to take away freedoms even when there is no smoke:

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – The New York City Council approved legislation Thursday to ban the use of electronic cigarettes from indoor public spaces where smoking is already prohibited.

E-cigarettes have been endorsed by celebrities, marketed in multiple flavors and are soaring in popularity.

From made-up danger to not even the pretense of danger. Beware the water vapor.

Breaking on Hot Air



Trackback URL


The largest and most extensive secondhand hand smoke study is the ones the medias and those pushing this false agenda want you to never mention.
Environmental tobacco smoke and tobacco related mortality in a prospective study of Californians, 1960-98

This study was done over a 39 year period with 118,094 people that participated and there is not any other study that comes close to this one in time and sample size. So what do they want you to ignore this? Well it is because of the conclusions.

Conclusions The results do not support a causal relation between environmental tobacco smoke and tobacco related mortality, although they do not rule out a small effect. The association between exposure to environmental tobacco smoke and coronary heart disease and lung cancer may be considerably weaker than generally believed.

JeffinSac on December 20, 2013 at 3:50 PM

Evidence suggests that exposure to secondhand smoke is associated with the development of tuberculosis disease in both children and adults.7,8 More research is needed.

Awww c’mon Talkingpoints. Are you seriously going to post more of this?

WryTrvllr on December 20, 2013 at 3:55 PM

More bunk, as usual.

Whenever a ‘health professional’ has come at me for smoking I ask:

“So. How do you explain the fact that the percentage of smokers in Europe is much higher than in the U.S. and they don’t have higher incident rates of lung cancer or ETC.???”

*Blank stare*, followed by, “Well, how do you account for it?”

I say, “Smoking is the ‘great excuse’ for everything the medical community doesn’t have an answer for. There was a recent article in JAMA which did a study on sarcaphaguses (i), and which showed that by the age of 43, hearts exhibited heart disease and etc…. – and there was no smoking, then.

Also, consider the plastics our food is wrapped in and microwaved in – look at the toxins in our water supply. . .”

*Blank stares“.

Today barbecuing is fine; yesterday it gave you cancer.

Today salt is actually fine; yesterday it gave you high blood pressure.

Today we know some fat is essential in our diet (witness the Eskimos who survived on mostly whale blubber)……… yesterday it was going to kill you.

I eat everything across the spectrum – and smoke.

What exactly is going to kill me? God only knows. I’ll go home, happily, when He calls. Until then…………

Opinionator on December 21, 2013 at 2:06 AM

The stupidity of received opinion that second-hand smoke is as bad as (or worse than) first-hand smoke now takes a big formal study to counter it. It won’t be enough.

It’s very sad. People are poisoned by second-hand thought: this observation should have been obvious to anyone: environmental smoke might be annoying or irritating to some, but in view of its relative lack of concentration, clearly it was never a significant problem.

virgo on December 21, 2013 at 2:13 AM

Oh, and Mr. talkingpoints cardiologist?

Thirty years ago I had a heart attack – caused by fake hormones in the birth control pill. Yes, Iam why there is a warning on every birth control pill label today about the risk of heart attacks. [If I had sued, then, for failure to warn, I’d be a millionaire, today.]

The medical community then (in 1985) tried to tie it in to my smoking. I challenged by brother in law doctor, and sister, nurse, to prove it to me. They did the research and came up with a one page study with six patients which supposedly found a link between smoking and clotting.

BUNK. Here I am talking about it 30 years later.

Opinionator on December 21, 2013 at 2:20 AM

The supposed threat of second hand smoke is only more second hand BUNK.

Opinionator on December 21, 2013 at 2:43 AM

Dennis Prager was right all along. Our “free expression” media is our downfall – between the universities and the media, truth is becoming a dying breed.

MN J on December 21, 2013 at 2:15 PM