‘Borstkanker door meeroken’ is onzin

‘Meeroken veroorzaakt borstkanker’ kopten vele Amerikaanse media vorige week. Het bericht was gebaseerd op een annoncering van de EPA, het Amerikaanse RIVM. Het onderzoek waarop de annoncering was gebaseerd was echter nog niet af, niet peer-reviewed en niet eens gepubliceerd.

Het is bovendien complete onzin, schrijft Elizabeth Whelan, president van de American Council on Science and Health in de New York Post. Er zijn duidelijke aanwijzingen dat roken de kans op borstkanker juist verlaagt. Het is dan ook hoogst onwaarschijnlijk dat niet-rokende vrouwen van meeroken borstkanker zouden krijgen.

Haar introductiezin liegt er niet om. Dit is erg slecht voor de reputatie van de epidemiologie, schrijft ze:

“ENVIRONMENTAL activists this week brought the credibility of the noble science of epidemiology (the study of the cause of human disease) to another low.”

The Air Resources Board of the California EPA declared that exposure to second-hand smoke upped a woman’s risk of breast cancer. Nevermind that the “study” was preliminary and was neither peer reviewed nor published.

The national media picked up its scary conclusions in a generally uncritical manner, most scientists remained silent on the travesty and the California regulatory exorcists who are committed to removing all “toxins” from the air, pondered even more legislation to “protect” women from breast cancer by eliminating exposure to second-hand smoke.

But there is no persuasive evidence that smoking, no less second-hand exposures, cause breast cancer. In fact, there is some evidence that women who smoke may have a reduced risk of breast cancer given that smoking reduces the body’s natural estrogen levels. Commonsense suggests that if a woman smoking a pack a day is not at increased risk of breast cancer, then a nonsmoking woman transiently exposed to second-hand smoke would not be either.

Indeed, why do anti-smoking advocates need to exaggerate their claims when there is already overwhelming scientific evidence of the dangers of smoking? Because the anti-smoking movement is driven by a zeal to regulate cigarette smoking out of existence and the ends justify the means.

They seem unaware that their baseless health claims threaten the acceptance and credibility of legitimate public health initiatives as facts and hype get tangled.

Let’s not give the tobacco industry fertile grounds for claiming all smoking and health claims are based on junk science.

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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