What’s the value of all those hospitality industry studies?

Interest groups

The details show that there are more or less three interest groups:

  1. Groups interested in showing that there is no economic damage (pharmaceutical industry, health industry, governments)
  2. Groups interested in showing a negative effect (tobacco industry, hospitality industry)
  3. Independent researchers like universities if they are not paid by one of the two above mentioned interest groups.

The division into three interest groups was mainly based on the funding. The greater part of the studies was done by the anti-tobacco lobby (56%), 34% of all studies had ties with the hospitality or tobacco industry and 10% could be considered independent (2% had an unknown source of funding). Note that independent and university studies are more likely to be funded by the traditional heavy funders (the antismoking groups) than by prosmoking forces.

Table 2:
Categorisation

Interest category

Anti-tobacco

Independent,
University,
Unknown

Free
Choice 

#

#

#

Funding Category

23

.

.

Government
Pharmaceutical Industry

8

.

.

Tobacco Related

.

.

23

Non Governmental Organizations

28

.

.

Hospitality Industry

.

.

13

Independent funding

.

4

.

Unknown

.

2

.

University

.

5

.

It becomes very interesting if you take a look at the results of the studies while keeping those interest groups in mind. There is almost a 100 % correlation between interest group and results (confirmed by a variance analysis). We see that 100 % of the studies done by anti-tobacco researchers does not find any negative effect of smoking bans. The majority of the anti-anti-tobacco studies shows a negative effect after a smoking ban has been introduced.

Table 3:
Positive/negative impacts found per funding category

Conclusion of
negative Impact?

Total

No

Yes

%

%

%

Funding Category

100

100

Anti-tobacco
Free Choice

6

94

100

Independent, University, Unknown

71

29

100

(- = no data available)

It’s very clear that anti-smoking studies suffer extremely from what we call Publication Bias. Whoever pays for the study decides which results are wanted. The publication bias alone is already enough reason to conclude that anti-smoking studies are unreliable.

Publication policy

The Australian researchers were very proud to mention that almost all studies that showed no negative effect of smoking bans had been published in scientific journals and had been peer reviewed. Peer review means that researchers who have not taken part in the study review the results of a study. That’s why peer review normally stands for an independent review.

Table 4

JournalType

Economic journal

Hospitality biz related

Medical or Health related

#

%

#

%

#

%

Funding Category

.

.

1

4

21

84

Anti-tobacco
Free Choice 

1

4

.

.

.

.

Independent, University, Unknown

.

.

1

4

1

4

Total

1

4

2

8

22

88

One would expect that this kind of study would be published in economic journals, which in fact didn’t happen. Almost all the studies were published in anti-smoking friendly journals. Table 4 shows in what kind of journals the results of the studies were published in when researchers mentioned that the studies had been peer reviewed. 84 % of all studies were published in medical and/or health-related magazines. This means that the studies have been peer reviewed by colleagues with the same negative attitude towards smoking. The statement that the quality of these studies is high because almost all of the studies have been peer reviewed is meaningless.

The only study of all 106 analyzed studies that was published in an independent economic scientific magazine was tobacco-industry related and found a negative economic result because of smoking bans.

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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