‘Anti-tabakslobby misbruikt epidemiologie’

De constante valse voorlichting van de anti-tabakslobby over de gevaren van meeroken zijn een bedreiging voor de goede naam van de wetenschap van de epidemiologie.


Deze keer is dit geen uitspraak van Dr. Michael Siegel, die hier regelmatig wordt aangehaald, maar van Dr. Carl Phillips van de Universiteit van Alberta.


In het wetenschappelijk tijdschrift Epidemiologic Perspectives & Innovations werd enige tijd geleden een oproep gedaan om artikelen aan te leveren die beschreven welke belangengroepen de epidemiologie bedreigen. De enige twee reacties die werden ingezonden kwamen van Dr. Michael Siegel en Dr.James Enstrom, twee wetenschappers die door de anti-tabaksgemeenschap werden ge-excommuniceerd nadat ze onwelgevallige geluiden lieten horen. Deze keer werden dus niet de overheid of een of andere industrie als grootste bedreiging genoemd maar de anti-tabaklobby.


En Dr. Phillips, zelf redacteur van dit blad, voegt zich in zijn commentaar bij deze twee wetenschappers en geeft toe dat ook hij door de lobby werd buitengesloten nadat hij onwelkom onderzoek openbaarde.


This commentary accompanies two articles submitted to Epidemiologic Perspectives & Innovations in response to a call for papers about threats to epidemiology or epidemiologists from organized political interests. Contrary to our expectations, we received no submissions that described threats from industry or government; all were about threats from anti-tobacco activists. The two we published, by James E. Enstrom and Michael Siegel, both deal with the issue of environmental tobacco smoke. This commentary adds a third story of attacks on legitimate science by anti-tobacco activists, the author’s own experience. These stories suggest a willingness of influential anti-tobacco activists, including academics, to hurt legitimate scientists and turn epidemiology into junk science in order to further their agendas. The willingness of epidemiologists embrace such anti-scientific influences bodes ill for the field’s reputation as a legitimate science.



October 23, 2007 — THE days of deception on the health risks of cigarettes aren’t over after all – although now the distortion’s coming from the “good guys.”

For decades, the industry-funded Tobacco Institute denied the harmful consequences of smoking and did a great disservice to public health. Today, however, it’s anti-smoking advocates spreading the disinformation – overstating certain risks. But – because such deception undermines the credibility of all public-health work – they’re being called on it by one of their own.

A startling study by Dr. Michael Siegel of Boston University’s School of Public Health is pointing the finger at the well-intentioned likes of Action on Smoking and Health, the politically powerful Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids and New York City’s Department of Health.

In a study published this week in the journal Epidemiologic Perspectives & Innovations, Siegel warns that these groups are wildly inflating the health risks of exposure to second-hand smoke. In doing so, they tarnish the very credibility that the public-health community must have in order to save lives.

Siegel is no friend of Big Tobacco – he’s a vocal opponent of smoking and a supporter of smoke-free workplace rules. Indeed, it was his place as a leading member of the tobacco-control community that compelled him to publish his findings that some groups are harming the movement’s credibility by overstating the dangers of short-term exposure to environmental tobacco smoke (ETS).

There is evidence that long-term, high-dose ETS exposure increases the risk of heart disease and heart attack. And there is speculation that even short-term exposure may be unsafe to those with severe coronary artery disease. But the evidence does not support the claim that more than 100 groups are wantonly making – which is that acute, transient exposure to ETS increases heart-attack risk in healthy individuals.

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  • "Es ist schwieriger, eine vorgefaßte Meinung zu zertrümmern als ein Atom."
    (Het is moeilijker een vooroordeel aan flarden te schieten dan een atoom.)
    Albert Einstein

  • "Als je alles zou laten dat slecht is voor je gezondheid, dan ging je kapot"
    Anonieme arts

  • "The effects of other people smoking in my presence is so small it doesn't worry me."
    Sir Richard Doll, 2001

  • "Een leugen wordt de waarheid als hij maar vaak genoeg wordt herhaald"
    Joseph Goebbels, Minister van Propaganda, Nazi Duitsland


  • "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win."
    Mahatma Gandhi

  • "There''s no such thing as perfect air. If there was, God wouldn''t have put bristles in our noses"
    Coun. Bill Clement

  • "Better a smoking freedom than a non-smoking tyranny"
    Antonio Martino, Italiaanse Minister van Defensie

  • "If smoking cigars is not permitted in heaven, I won't go."
    Mark Twain

  • I've alllllllways said that asking smokers "do you want to quit?" and reporting the results of that question, as is, is horribly misleading. It's a TWO part question. After asking if one wants to quit it must be followed up with "Why?" Ask why and the majority of the answers will be "because I'm supposed to" (victims of guilt and propaganda), not "because I want to."
    Audrey Silk, NYCCLASH