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.