Sunday, April 13, 2008

Fact or Fiction 1

It has been proven conclusively that exposure to secondhand smoke causes cancer in children.

The word “conclusively” is misleading. Very little of what you hear about the health effects of secondhand smoke is, in fact, conclusive. A study conducted in 1998 by IARC, an agency of the World Health Organization, found that “ETS exposure during childhood was not associated with an increased risk of lung cancer (odds ratio [OR] for ever exposure = 0.78; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.64-0 – 0. 96)”.

With a relative risk of only 0.78 and the upper and lower confidence intervals being less than one, this suggests that childhood exposure to secondhand smoke may have a beneficial effect in preventing lung cancer in later years. The results were so at odds with what the WHO was trying to prove, that they tried to bury the study. It was published only after the study was brought to light by the London Telegraph through British freedom of information laws

Recommended Reading:
Hittman Chronicles
Lorraine Mooney - Wall Street Journal

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