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Old 12-10-2013, 07:59 AM   #1
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Join Date: Aug 1998
Location: Metairie, LA
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Another Study NO Cancer Link

From the blog Velvet Glove, Iron Fist

“We’ve gotten smoking out of bars and restaurants on the basis of the fact that you and I and other nonsmokers don’t want to die,” said Silvestri. “The reality is, we probably won’t.”

Take that in for a moment. Contrast that little admission with the quackery of Stanton Glantz who has spent the last few days implying that one minute of secondhand smoke 'exposure' could be lethal. Contrast it with the BMA's assertion that "there is overwhelming evidence, built up over decades, that passive smoking causes lung cancer" (a quote made in response to yet another study that showed no such relationship.)
Wow. We knew that, already.

A large prospective cohort study of more than 76,000 women confirmed a strong association between cigarette smoking and lung cancer but found no link between the disease and secondhand smoke.


Investigators from Stanford and other research centers looked at data from the Women’s Health Initiative Observational Study (WHI-OS). Among 93,676 women aged 50–79 years at enrollment, the study had complete smoking and covariate data (including passive smoking exposure in childhood, adult home, and work) for 76,304 participants. Of those, 901 developed lung cancer over 10.5 mean years of follow-up.

The incidence of lung cancer was 13 times higher in current smokers and four times higher in former smokers than in never-smokers, and the relationship for both current and former smokers depended on level of exposure. However, among women who had never smoked, exposure to passive smoking overall, and to most categories of passive smoking, did not statistically significantly increase lung cancer risk. The only category of exposure that showed a trend toward increased risk was living in the same house with a smoker for 30 years or more. In that group, the hazard ratio for developing lung cancer was 1.61, but the confidence interval included 1.00, making the finding of only borderline statistical significance.

There's no such thing as borderline statistical significance. It's either significant or its not, and if it includes 1.0, it's not. It will be interesting to see the full results when they are published, but judging by the Journal of the National Cancer Institute report, it appears that this major cohort study did not find any statistically meaningful association between secondhand smoke and lung cancer in the home, in the workplace or in childhood. Even if we disregard statistical significance (and why would we?), it seems that only decades of chronic exposure in the home might, at most, have an extremely modest effect on lung cancer risk. There is nothing to indicate the slightest risk to those who work in or patronise the bars and restaurants which have been forced to ban smoking.

This should not be particularly surprising. Very few passive smoking/lung cancer studies are published these days compared to the glut of the 1980s and 1990s, but the handful that have appeared in recent years continue to support the null hypothesis. For all the campaigners' talk of "overwhelming evidence", the link between secondhand smoke and lung cancer has always been very shaky. It tends to be the smaller, case-control studies which find the associations while the larger, cohort studies do not (and, as the JNCI report notes, case-control studies "can suffer from recall bias: People who develop a disease that might be related to passive smoking are more likely to recall being exposed to passive smoking.")
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