This is perhaps the most important “weapon” in our fight for freedom:


ETS (environmental tobacco smoke) has NOT been proven to be dangerous, let alone deadly!

I cannot express enough how important this information is. You can cry about private property and individual freedoms and fairness until you’re blue in the face - if a policy-maker believes that ETS is a health hazard, then all those freedoms don’t mean squat. We live in a sad age where Health is, apparently, more important than Freedom. You MUST communicate the fraud of ETS, or you’re speaking to deaf ears.


This presentation is condensed, but provides some of the key science. Links to references and resources are  provided throughout the material. Learn it, understand it and use it whenever someone says, “studies prove... “ They do NOT.

The “Study” that is always used


Since it is impractical and unethical to run completely controlled studies on volunteers with regard to second hand smoke and health, Epidemiological studies are used.


Epidemiology is the study of disease in populations. Epidemiologists collect data using poorly controlled observational studies and evaluate it by using statistical methods. In the case of studying ETS, individuals are selected, they are given questionnaires regarding what they believe has been their exposure to ETS over a period of time equating to decades and their health history is examined.


That’s it. This is what comprises active work in these studies. You can imagine, I’m sure, the sheer amount of error that can exist regarding actual exposure as well as other unhealthy behaviors and exposures that might exist but are not, and cannot, be accounted for in these studies. It is, in fact, well documented that researchers conducting these studies often rely on second-hand information regarding exposure - i.e., what a relative or neighbor believes the exposure was.


As shocking as this might be, this type of study does have a place in scientific research IF two very important things are remembered: A) This type of study is a correlational exploration – it can tell you how often one thing occurs with another (i.e. ETS exposure and the occurrence of health problems) but it cannot tell you whether one thing causes another – which leads to the second thing: B) That relatively high correlations must occur to suggest, but not prove, that one thing causes another.


Resources:

http://www.forces.org/evidence/long-list.htm


http://www.forces.org/evidence/questionnaire/questionnaire_comment.htm

Study Results and Significance


In the statistical calculations in these epidemiological studies, the output value that shows how much of a correlation exists between one thing and another is called a relative risk. A relative risk value of 1.0 means there is no correlation. Higher than 1.0 begins to suggest a correlation, lower than 1.0 (i.e. 0.7) suggests the opposite of what the study is trying to correlate.


Relative risk numbers are also expressed as a “risk elevation” – a percent increase risk in getting disease from exposure to whatever you’re studying. The formula for converting is: Risk elevation, % = (RR x 100) - 100


A relative risk (RR) of 1.0 would be zero % increase. An RR of 1.5 would be a 50% increase. An RR of 2.0 would be a 100% increase. An RR of 3.0 would be a 200% increase. This is important to know because this is how the results are often published in the mainstream media; i.e. “studies suggest exposure to “X” causes a 50% increase in getting “Z”.


It should also be noted that in the calculations of these studies, a statistical tool is utilized, called a “Confidence Interval”, to verify that the data being generated by the study is statistically significant. It is generally accepted that a confidence interval must be done at a 95% confidence to reliably confirm significance.


So how high a relative risk must a study deliver to suggest a correlation that may indicate causation. This is what the experts have to say:


•"As a general rule of thumb, we are looking for a relative risk of 3.0 or more before we accept a paper for publication" - Marcia Angell, Editor of the New England Journal of Medicine


•"Relative risks of less than 2.0 may readily reflect some unperceived bias or confounding factor; those over 5.0 are unlikely to do so." - Breslow and Day, 1980, Statistical methods in cancer research, Vol. 1, The analysis of case control studies. (Published by the World Health Organization)


•"My basic rule is if the relative risk isn't at least 3.0 or 4.0, forget it" - Robert Temple, director of drug evaluation at the Food and Drug Administration, 2/8/99, in comments to the National Toxicology Program


•How about a real world example: Remember the health scare some years back regarding electromagnetic fields as a probable cause of cancer? Well the EPA studied this and refused to conclude a link, "largely because the relative risks have seldom exceeded 3.0" - "Evaluation of the Potential Carcinogenicity of Electromagnetic Fields", EPA, Review Draft, October 1990


It is clearly established, by the expert’s own words, that relative risks of consistently 3.0 or higher (risk elevations of 200% or higher) must be seen in epidemiological studies for one to suspect, but NOT prove, a cause and effect relationship. Below 3.0 (200% increase) is nothing more than noise.


So, you might ask, what relative risk values does the Surgeon General’s report cite in the quest to prove “danger”? As an example:


Relative risks for Lung Cancer and Heart Disease of 1.3 (30%) for each! 1


You will find, in researching all studies on ETS, with regard to whatever health consequence they are measuring, that if the study is statistically significant (with the standard 95% confidence interval), the relative risk values range from 1.0 to 2.5, most being between 1.0 and 1.7.


Resource: http://www.forces.org/evidence/financial-ties/index.htm


To hammer this point home, I will pose the question I have posed to many an anti-smoking advocate for them to answer (none have even tried): If you believe that I am wrong in saying that no study to date has proven that second hand smoke is dangerous, then explain why beginning with the sentence, “Relative risks below 3.0 are significant only for ETS studies, but not significant for all other epidemiological studies, because…”


It is worth noting that for any news stories on any health matter, when researchers exclaim: Studies suggest that “X” causes a “Y” percent increase in getting “Z” - first note the important word “suggest”, not “prove”, and second, if the “Y” percent increase is not at least 200%, it is worthless - researchers and public relations people are just trying to garner more funding and succeeding because of the scientific ignorance of the media - an ignorance much of the media loves having.


1 Surgeon General’s report, Figure 8.1 on page 524

The Fraud by “Health Authorities”


“Health Authorities”, in assembling reports that support their contention that ETS is “dangerous”, are guilty of claiming significance when there is none but also of trying to generate credibility to their claim by twisting the science, using studies that are not statistically significant and selectively choosing studies.


Of best infamous note was the 1992 EPA meta-analysis of 30+ studies in their report: Respiratory Health Effects of Passive Smoking: Lung Cancer and other Disorders, which declared ETS as dangerous and created often quoted “ETS causes 3,000 lung cancer deaths in the US annually”.


What is not commonly known is that in 1998, Federal Judge William L. Osteen shot down that study’s validity. Some of his famous words regarding the fraudulent nature of that study:


“In this case, EPA publicly committed to a conclusion before research had begun; excluded industry by violating the Act's procedural requirements; adjusted established procedure and scientific norms to validate the Agency's public conclusion, and aggressively utilized the Act's authority to disseminate findings to establish a de facto regulatory scheme intended to restrict Plaintiffs products and to influence public opinion. In conducting the ETS Risk Assessment, disregarded information and made findings on selective information; did not disseminate significant epidemiologic information; deviated from its Risk Assessment Guidelines; failed to disclose important findings and reasoning; and left significant questions without answers. EPA's conduct left substantial holes in the administrative record. While so doing, produced limited evidence, then claimed the weight of the Agency's research evidence demonstrated ETS causes cancer.”


Resource: http://www.forces.org/evidence/epafraud/etsfrau.htm


Want more? Check out this exhaustive review: http://www.forces.org/evidence/evid/second.htm


It is also interesting to note that the EPA deals with outdoor air safety, not indoor! So why did they even do this? See below for OSHA.



The Surgeon General’s Report in the Summer of 2006


Very few people have actually read the 700+ page report. I do know that the relative risk conclusions on that report, as is always, do not suggest, let alone prove, health detriment (see above Results and Significance section). I also know the following:


No new studies were completed for that report - there is nothing new in it.


The report relies heavily on the EPA’s 1992 study expressed above... yes, they used a major study which was shot down by a federal judge as fraudulent.


The report’s actual conclusions, NOT the cover press release being touted by the media, doesn’t actually declare ETS as dangerous, let alone unhealthy. The actual conclusions of the actual report are “inconclusive” - which is an anti-friendly and open-ended way of say, “no evidence of danger”)


The report glaringly omits (among many):


•  The 1998 World Health Organization large single study, which was to be touted as the answer to the question of health effects from ETS, but instead showed no health correlation for children of smokers, spouses and co-workers - and was quickly buried by the WHO and only released after numerous protests. http://www.forces.org/evidence/who/index.htm


•  The largest single study of all - a 39-year analysis of our 118,000 Californians published in 2003 in the British Medical Journal (Engstrom and Kabat) that found no correlation between ETS and mortality. http://www.bmj.com/cgi/content/full/326/7398/1057



Enstrom and Kabat have documented their tribulations, as well as the above-described problems with the surgeon general’s report at:


http://www.scientificintegrityinstitute.org/defense.html

 

and

 

http://www.scientificintegrityinstitute.org/example.html


Many have filed complaints with the Office of Research Integrity


Internationally, Forces.org, and regionally in the United States - four separate freedom groups, spanning the United States from New Hampshire, Ohio, Wisconsin and Hawaii - have all filed complaints against the SG Report with the US Office of Research Integrity (ORI). Regionally, each groups has focused on specific problems with the report’s integrity, from the actual mis-use of science, to the omission of major health studies that did not support the report’s conclusions, to the omission of economic impact studies that did not support the report’s findings.


Included in these complaints is an attack on Carmona’s oft-quoted “there is no risk-free level of” ETS (twisted further by the media and anti-groups to read “safe-level”) - a statement that is toxicologically impossible and has been used as the rallying cry for municipalities and states to take away our freedoms.


Below is a link to each group’s website page or downloadable copy of their complaint:


FORCES complaint to the ORI


Opponents of Ohio Bans ORI Complaint No longer functioning


Hawaii Smoker’s Alliance ORI Complaint No longer functioning


Ban the Ban Wisconsin ORI Complaint No longer functioning


Citizen’s Freedom Alliance ORI Complaint No longer functioning


And a link to a news article covering the four above filed complaints:


Link to Reuters News Article


As a side note, it is suggestive, but not proof, to note that shortly after Surgeon General Carmona issued his ETS report and press release, he quietly and quickly resigned from the position and has, essentially, dropped off the map. Hmmmm.


But the best evidence of the fraud of this report really comes from the media’s favorite sound bite, Carmona’s mis-quote regarding the report: “there is no safe level of second hand smoke”. (the actual quote is “no risk-free level” - nah, no media bias there)


Not only does this report NOT provide any conclusions, fraudulent or otherwise, to support this proclamation (the studies used are over time frames of decades), but the statement itself is absurd. So we can have federally mandated safe levels of Arsenic in our drinking water and industrial pollutants in our air, but there is NO safe level of ETS???!!! Not even a teensy amount?


Anyone who knows anything about the field of toxicology knows the basic axiom: The dose makes the poison. We need oxygen, but too much is unhealthy. We all need water, but too much can drown you. Selenium is a toxin but it is nutritionally required in very small amounts. Hell, we all have a small amount of Uranium in our bodies naturally. But, according to Carmona, even a microscopic amount of ETS is “deadly”. Give us a break.


And The Surgeon General’s Report of December 2010


.. Begins the process of upping irrationality to outdo the last report. This one now claims even whiffs of smoke are really dangerous. I will let a great man in our field speak about this one to you:


Michael J. McFadden on this report, via the Citizens Freedom Alliance


Notice how little media attention this SG report got? Maybe people and reporters are beginning to wise up to the absurdity.


Summary


The studies used to study ETS and health effects - in fact the only study that can be used, Epidemiological - itself suffers from reliability since it relies on long-term recall of exposure to ETS, and the authors are often willing to settle for hearsay data.


These studies, even in their best and most accurate performance, can serve only to suggest, not prove, a causation.


Hundreds of these studies, that have been validated as statistically significant (not meaningless) via statistical significance “check and balance” procedures do NOT yield conclusions that even suggest a relationship between ETS and health effects.


This has not stopped researchers, “health authorities” and interested parties from, at best, not correcting the media’s hype or, at worst, lying about the meaning of the results.


In addition, “health authorities” have tried to manipulate the studies, cherry picked studies in comprehensive reports and otherwise simply lie about results and hope the truth remains buried under mountainous reports.


Hell, even OSHA, the federal organization that actually deals with indoor workplace air safety, won’t regulate ETS because they know it isn’t a threat.


And the truth of the 2006 Surgeon General Report, quite simply, is that no dangers were seen from ETS. With as much information regurgitated and scrutinized in that report from over thirty years of investigation, “inconclusive” can’t mean anything other than “none”.



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Additional Useful Reading


Might I also suggest for reading, and for downloading and sending to lay Politicians, these fine and brief articles by Jacob Sullum at Reason.com:


On the Infamous 2006 SG Report: A Pack of Lies


On the recent spate of ETS/Heart Attack Studies: Myocardial Infractions

And OSHA?


OSHA, the federal agency actually responsible for indoor air safety in workplaces (acronym stands for Occupational Safety and Health Administration), has never issued any regulations on ETS in the workplace because their own research shows that typical exposure falls well below any levels that would be considered unsafe. Read it for yourself:


http://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=INTERPRETATIONS&p_id=24602


No anti ever even mentions OSHA - probably because OSHA won’t play their game.