Tuesday, November 16

"In a critical commentary, the Australian medical research scientist Raymond Johnstone noted that the annual death rate from lung cancer among the non-smoking wives of non-smoking men is around six per 100,000, whereas among the non-smoking wives of smoking men the corresponding figure is eight per 100,000. Now this may be reported as an increased (relative) risk of 33 per cent. Yet in absolute terms it amounts to an absolute (or exposure) risk of one in 50,000, which is, for practical purposes, negligible."
Because the war on smoking anywhere at all is all about science, right?


  1. Anonymous8:07 AM

    It seems easy for people to fall into the trap of statistical manipulation. "Eight per 100,000" sounds kinda scary, but when you say it as 0.008% (which is the same thing), suddenly it doesn't sound quite so ominous. Keeping it perspective, the lifetime odds of dying from an accidental injury are about 1 in 2,800 (or about 0.04%--much, much worse than smoking risks), according to the National Safety Council. More odds: NYT, gambling.

  2. When odds like this lead to legislation, then anything can be banned, medicalized, taxed, or regulated upon us.

  3. Anonymous10:59 PM

    What's even worse is when reactionary blowhards reduce a scientific study down to one single statistic, making it impossible to judge the study on its merits.