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Hittman
Skeptic Friend

134 Posts

Posted - 01/11/2009 :  12:19:37  Show Profile  Visit Hittman's Homepage Send Hittman a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Third Hand Smoke

It's pretty obvious to anyone who has researched the subject that second hand smoke is the biggest scam since homeopathy. But it has been used to institute smoking bans all over the world, to the determent of business owners, charities, and anyone who believes in private property and personal freedom.

But that's not enough for the nicotine nannies. Their latest scam is Third Hand Smoke.

It started with an article in the once admirable New York Times. Their article implied that a new study proved that any contact with a smoker or visiting anywhere a smoker has been could have deadly consequences. They went so far as to infer that kids could get a deadly amount of polonium-10 by crawling on the floor of a room once inhabited by a smoker.

But if you read what they really said, all they were doing was repeating completely unfounded claims whose only backup was a phone survey to determine how many people believed this nonsense. There was no measuring of anything, no epidemiology, nothing that supported his outrageous claims.

Other media outlets, like the Today Show, MSNBC and "Science" Daily, erroneously reported that the study supported the doctor's nonsense statement.

If a creationist made a half dozen unfounded statements about the origin of the universe, and offered, as proof, a phone survey about people's beliefs, it's unlikely the NYT would have printed it. But that is exactly what they did here.

So now a smoker who politely leaves the building to have a smoke, often in inclement weather, is still to be hated and feared when he returns because that trace amount of smoke you can smell will kill you. Or your children. (It's always for the chilllllldreeeeeen.) And the media reports this junk science as if it were fact, for stupid people to suck down and add to their reasons to hate a quarter of the population.

More info here: http://www.davehitt.com/blog2/third-hand-smoke/

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Kil
Evil Skeptic

USA
12672 Posts

Posted - 01/11/2009 :  13:44:31   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Kil's Homepage  Send Kil an AOL message  Send Kil a Yahoo! Message Send Kil a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Hittman:
It's pretty obvious to anyone who has researched the subject that second hand smoke is the biggest scam since homeopathy.


I'll say right off that I am a smoker. And at one time in the fairly recent past, I believed that the evidence supporting the harm of second hand smoke was unconvincing at best, and, as Hittman asserts, a scam at worst. I have since changed my mind on that. I refer you to Robert Carroll, mostly because he did the legwork that ultimately changed my mind.

Robbert Carroll from the Skeptic's Dictionary Newsletter 61:
Thus, I now assert that Penn & Teller are wrong about secondhand smoke. And I reiterate what I wrote in Newsletter 52, that libertarian and skeptic Michael Shermer is wrong and misleading when he claims on page 173 of The Science of Good and Evil: "The fact is, there is no evidence that secondhand smoke causes cancer." There not only is evidence, there is good evidence for a causal link between secondhand smoke and not only cancer but cardiovascular diseases as well, unless one defines 'evidence' and 'cause' in terms that would be sure to bring a large smile to the faces of tobacco industry executives, lobbyists, and political cronies in high office. If you doubt me, please read the following:

What follows is a list of links to articles and studies.

Carroll also responded to a letter from Hittman regarding Carroll's change of mind here:

the Skeptic's Dictionary Newsletter 64

By now (the Carroll stuff comes from 2005) there are probably several more studies supporting the hazards of second hand smoke.

As for the dangers of third hand smoke, I, like Hittman, remain skeptical.

And yes, there really are anti-smoking nazi's out there who will cover their mouths and noses in disgust, even if they are across the street from a smoker. (They don't do that when a bus or a car goes by.) And yes, some of the laws, and proposed laws, with regard to where you can smoke are just nuts.



Edited for spelling.

Uncertainty may make you uncomfortable. Certainty makes you ridiculous.

Why not question something for a change?

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Simon
SFN Regular

USA
1992 Posts

Posted - 01/11/2009 :  14:36:30   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Simon a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I'd remain skeptical too about third hand smoke but second hand smoke seems convincing. As long as you are breathing the same chemical than a smoker, you are subjected to similar damage.
Of course, you are breathing them at lower concentrations and the effects will be slower to appear, but there is no reason for them no to.

Look again at that dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every "superstar," every "supreme leader," every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there – on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.
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Hittman
Skeptic Friend

134 Posts

Posted - 01/11/2009 :  18:29:33   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Hittman's Homepage Send Hittman a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Robert Carroll is, quite simply, wrong on this subject. Very wrong. He's human, it happens.

Of course, you are breathing them at lower concentrations and the effects will be slower to appear, but there is no reason for them no to.


Consider that the ill effects from smoking usually take decades to manifest themselves. A pack a day smoker directly inhales 7300 cigarettes a year, and it takes 20-30 years for it to hurt him, if it does. People who live or work in smoky environments inhale the smoke of about six cigarettes per year. (That's from measuring actual exposure, by having non smokers wear portable air pumps.) Consider that the first rule of toxicology is "the dose is the poison." Is it reasonable that such tiny exposures could cause the effects blamed on SHS?

Also consider that epidemiology is inaccurate when dealing with tiny increases in risk. RRs of 1.15 to 1.25, where SHS claims fall, are the very lowest numbers statistics can measure, because most RRs that small have a CI that straddles 1.0, which means they're not statically significant. Those that don't usually come very, very close, so they are just barely statically significant. (I recall reading one study where the lower bound of the CI was 1.01.) Measuring any RR that low is like trying to measures microns with a yardstick. It's too crude a tool for the job. Add in publication bias, which means studies that show no increase in risk (for anything, not just SHS) are usually ignored by journals, and there's no real evidence for SHS causing widespread harm.

But…I didn't want to open a discussion of SHS in this thread. (I should have left it alone in the opening post.) I wanted to talk about the recent Third Hand Smoke scare, and what it says about the honestly, integrity, and scientific acumen of both the anti-smokers and the mass media.

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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
24850 Posts

Posted - 01/11/2009 :  19:01:42   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Hittman

Consider that the ill effects from smoking usually take decades to manifest themselves.
Which "ill effects?"
A pack a day smoker directly inhales 7300 cigarettes a year, and it takes 20-30 years for it to hurt him, if it does.
"Hurt" and "ill effects" are not defined here. It's impossible to agree.
People who live or work in smoky environments inhale the smoke of about six cigarettes per year. (That's from measuring actual exposure, by having non smokers wear portable air pumps.) Consider that the first rule of toxicology is "the dose is the poison." Is it reasonable that such tiny exposures could cause the effects blamed on SHS?
Undefined effects, no indication that - for example - cancer isn't a toxicological effect. Any amount of radiation can kill, so keeping exposure to radioactive materials to a minimum is important, for another example (based on the alleged polonium-210 threat). What kind of arguments are these?
Also consider that epidemiology is inaccurate when dealing with tiny increases in risk. RRs of 1.15 to 1.25, where SHS claims fall, are the very lowest numbers statistics can measure, because most RRs that small have a CI that straddles 1.0, which means they're not statically significant. Those that don't usually come very, very close, so they are just barely statically significant. (I recall reading one study where the lower bound of the CI was 1.01.) Measuring any RR that low is like trying to measures microns with a yardstick. It's too crude a tool for the job.
What a bunch of pseudoscientific baloney. Confidence intervals and relative risks depend upon sample size. Anyone who states "RRs of 1.15 to 1.25... are the very lowest numbers statistics can measure" is talking out his butt, with or without the nebulous qualifier regarding "most RRs."
Add in publication bias, which means studies that show no increase in risk (for anything, not just SHS) are usually ignored by journals, and there's no real evidence for SHS causing widespread harm.
Weasel word: "real." How many True Scotsmen have you run across?
But…I didn't want to open a discussion of SHS in this thread. (I should have left it alone in the opening post.) I wanted to talk about the recent Third Hand Smoke scare, and what it says about the honestly, integrity, and scientific acumen of both the anti-smokers and the mass media.
The "Third Hand Smoke scare," from what I can gather, seems to be driven by the anti-SHS crowd. It's also funny that when I did a search for "nicotine nannies" because I wanted to remind myself of where the term came from, your name came up more than anyone else's. (Got a link to the actual research, instead of the New York Times' January 2nd write-up on it? Forcryingoutloud, the "scare" is - according to you - only nine days old! How much of a "scare" could it be already? )

But I'm sure you won't find much besides skepticism here regarding the alleged "Third Hand Smoke scare" (skepticism in more ways than one). Discussing Cato Institute/Steven Milloy talking points regarding second-hand smoke is always fun, though. Especially for us smokers.

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
24850 Posts

Posted - 01/11/2009 :  21:10:01   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I forgot, I got a big kick out of this:
Originally posted by Hittman

...publication bias, which means studies that show no increase in risk (for anything, not just SHS) are usually ignored by journals...
The implication is clear: because publication bias exists and has been demonstrated for things other than second-hand smoke studies, we should assume that there have been studies done on second-hand smoke which have found no increased risk and so have not been published.

The problem with this "logic" should be obvious: under such conditions, it is impossible for anyone without inside information to discriminate between zero studies showing no extra risk from SHS and a hundred unpublished studies showing no extra risk from SHS.

So where is the list of SHS studies showing zero increased risk which have not been published? Where are the testimonies of the scientists who ran these studies, saying "I submitted the paper to seven major journals, and they all turned it down for no stated reason" (for example)?

(Damn, "publication bias" would be a "9/11 Truther's" wet dream, if only their data points were published in scientific journals, and not special reports.)

And an ironic thing is that since publication bias was recognized (ten or more years ago?), journals have been making great strides to eliminate it so far as "controversial" study subjects go. For example, one can easily find a half-dozen or so studies showing no benefit for selenium and vitamin E in the treatment or prevention of heart disease, all published just in the past few years. Of course, if it weren't for a boatload of alt-med folk touting the benefits of selenium and vitamin E, along with a few "pilot" studies which indicated some benefit, the negative studies probably wouldn't have been done in the first place, much less published.

But that's the point: with everyone and their sisters "believing in" the dangers of SHS, negative studies would be big news. Publication bias relies upon the idea that studies that don't show anything new are less likely to be published because publication space is limited (not so now with the Web), and so articles with "interesting" results will get preferred treatment. Why shouldn't they? "Man bites dog," and all that.

The alleged dangers of SHS have been "common knowledge" for decades. Publication bias should now work against studies which show risk from SHS, and bring the negative studies way up in relative importance.

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
24850 Posts

Posted - 01/11/2009 :  22:17:14   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Oh, Kil, you forgot to mention the next Skeptic’s Dictionary newsletter, which included a minimal reply to Hittman's response to the bit you posted.

And oddly enough (not!), when refreshing my memory on statistical significance and relative risk ratios, Steven Milloy's name came up again.

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
Evidently, I rock!
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BigPapaSmurf
SFN Die Hard

3192 Posts

Posted - 01/12/2009 :  06:04:11   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send BigPapaSmurf a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I heard a story on NPR yesterday and the guy danced around the answer to the question about the studies used to reach his 'THS is the end of the world' type conclusions. He was saying some really silly things like not to let your kids in a smokers house or never dare to purchace a house of a former smoker without first gutting the place and bringing in an E.T. capturing radiation suit, etc...

He seemed to imply there were some tests that showed the chemicals in kids urine. The only thing I heard for sure was that smoke residue has toxins in it...

"...things I have neither seen nor experienced nor heard tell of from anybody else; things, what is more, that do not in fact exist and could not ever exist at all. So my readers must not believe a word I say." -Lucian on his book True History

"...They accept such things on faith alone, without any evidence. So if a fraudulent and cunning person who knows how to take advantage of a situation comes among them, he can make himself rich in a short time." -Lucian critical of early Christians c.166 AD From his book, De Morte Peregrini
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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
24850 Posts

Posted - 01/12/2009 :  08:52:41   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by BigPapaSmurf

I heard a story on NPR yesterday...
Do you recall which show you were listening to?

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
Evidently, I rock!
Why not question something for a change?
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tomk80
SFN Regular

Netherlands
1278 Posts

Posted - 01/12/2009 :  09:40:06   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit tomk80's Homepage Send tomk80 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Hittman
Also consider that epidemiology is inaccurate when dealing with tiny increases in risk. RRs of 1.15 to 1.25, where SHS claims fall, are the very lowest numbers statistics can measure, because most RRs that small have a CI that straddles 1.0, which means they're not statically significant. Those that don't usually come very, very close, so they are just barely statically significant. (I recall reading one study where the lower bound of the CI was 1.01.) Measuring any RR that low is like trying to measures microns with a yardstick. It's too crude a tool for the job.

Okay, this is just stupid. And I am an epidemiologist. The confidence interval is determined by the number of people you enroll in a study. I can easily give you numerous studies with an effect smaller than what you mention (in the order of 1.05) that are very, very, very significant (p-value <0.0001 where any result with p<0.05 is considered significant, confidence interval from 1.04 to 1.06 or smaller). The only thing you need to achieve that is enroll thousands of people. But that is no biggy. The studies I'm going to be working on will have about between 10.000 and 30.000 people enrolled. Time-trend studies on air-pollution can have whole districts or countries as a population, ranging in the millions. And if the individual studies do not reach this number, we can always pool comparable studies in a meta-analysis to get the same levels of significance.

Okay, I'll stop here and start banging my head on my desk.

Tom

`Contrariwise,' continued Tweedledee, `if it was so, it might be; and if it were so, it would be; but as it isn't, it ain't. That's logic.'
-Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Caroll-
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tomk80
SFN Regular

Netherlands
1278 Posts

Posted - 01/12/2009 :  09:57:15   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit tomk80's Homepage Send tomk80 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Okay, a bit more. I went to pubmed and searched for "second hand smoke epidemiology". The first relevant epidemiological aricle I found is 4th in the line and mentions a health survey of about 130.000 people. In that survey second hand smoked was also asked and analyzed against things like asthma, emphesema, chronic bronchitis etc. In people reporting exposure to second hand smoke asthma was up 20 to 30 percent (1.2/1.3) and chronic bronchitis 50% (1.5). The results are out of the ballpark you quote, Hittman, and are significant.

link study

I'll rant on a little more. While it is true that for acute poisoning "the dose is the poison", things are a little more tricky on the front of chronic diseases, cancers and long-term exposures. Here, one "x" of a substance can in theory cause something. A single radiating photon can in principle cause cancer if it hit the right DNA-base and causes the right mutation. A single fiber of asbestos can in principle cause mesothelioma (a form of lung cancer). Low doses of dust and particles are strongly associated this way chronic lung diseases like asthma, bronchitis or emphesema. The problem here is that we are not talking about discrete events (something is poisonous above a certain level) but on population level events where chance rears it's ugly head and things get complicated.

edited to add:It's also what makes discussions between epidemiologists and toxicologists very tiring affairs.

Tom

`Contrariwise,' continued Tweedledee, `if it was so, it might be; and if it were so, it would be; but as it isn't, it ain't. That's logic.'
-Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Caroll-
Edited by - tomk80 on 01/12/2009 10:00:26
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tomk80
SFN Regular

Netherlands
1278 Posts

Posted - 01/12/2009 :  10:12:41   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit tomk80's Homepage Send tomk80 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
To top it off. I found no studies regarding this "third hand smoke" using various search terms in pubmed. Let's discuss second hand smoke, because unless there is a bit more than what is said in the OP, the third hand stuff is wholly uninteresting.

Tom

`Contrariwise,' continued Tweedledee, `if it was so, it might be; and if it were so, it would be; but as it isn't, it ain't. That's logic.'
-Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Caroll-
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Hittman
Skeptic Friend

134 Posts

Posted - 01/13/2009 :  10:30:36   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Hittman's Homepage Send Hittman a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Which "ill effects?"

"Hurt" and "ill effects" are not defined here. It's impossible to agree.

Undefined effects, no indication that - for example - cancer isn't a toxicological effect.


Ah yes, the Dave W. Captain Nitpick technique for shutting down discussion. Demand a precise definition for every word used. And be sure to keep your dictionary of logical falsies handy so you can throw those out at least once per post.

Any amount of radiation can kill, so keeping exposure to radioactive materials to a minimum is important, for another example (based on the alleged polonium-210 threat). What kind of arguments are these?


Logical ones. Sorry they give you so much trouble.

Confidence intervals and relative risks depend upon sample size. Anyone who states "RRs of 1.15 to 1.25... are the very lowest numbers statistics can measure" is talking out his butt, with or without the nebulous qualifier regarding "most RRs."


Sample size is one rather important factor. There are several others, though, including the quality and accuracy of the data.

Weasel word: "real." How many True Scotsmen have you run across?


There you go! You got to use your logical fallacy dictionary. Good for you!

It's also funny that when I did a search for "nicotine nannies" because I wanted to remind myself of where the term came from, your name came up more than anyone else's.


Try "Nicotine Nazis." Number 1 baby!

But I don't use that one very often, because people get all upset and the conversation gets sidetracked into Godwin's law. I prefer nicotine nannies, a perfect description with nice alliteration.

Discussing Cato Institute/Steven Milloy talking points regarding second-hand smoke is always fun, though.


So anything you don't agree with is nothing more than a "talking point." Got it.

BTW, if you check your logical fallacies dictionary, I'm sure you'll find "attacking the messenger" in there somewhere.

Originally posted by Dave W.

I forgot, I got a big kick out of this:
Originally posted by Hittman

...publication bias, which means studies that show no increase in risk (for anything, not just SHS) are usually ignored by journals...
The implication is clear: because publication bias exists and has been demonstrated for things other than second-hand smoke studies, we should assume that there have been studies done on second-hand smoke which have found no increased risk and so have not been published.

The problem with this "logic" should be obvious: under such conditions, it is impossible for anyone without inside information to discriminate between zero studies showing no extra risk from SHS and a hundred unpublished studies showing no extra risk from SHS.

So where is the list of SHS studies showing zero increased risk which have not been published? Where are the testimonies of the scientists who ran these studies, saying "I submitted the paper to seven major journals, and they all turned it down for no stated reason" (for example)?

When a vampire Jehovah's Witness knocks on your door, don't invite him in. Blood Witness: http://bloodwitness.com

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tomk80
SFN Regular

Netherlands
1278 Posts

Posted - 01/13/2009 :  12:36:14   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit tomk80's Homepage Send tomk80 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Hittman
The confidence interval is determined by the number of people you enroll in a study. I can easily give you numerous studies with an effect smaller than what you mention (in the order of 1.05) that are very, very, very significant (p-value <0.0001 where any result with p<0.05 is considered significant, confidence interval from 1.04 to 1.06 or smaller).


Statistically significant, yes, but given the limitations and errors built into every study (recall bias, confounders, etc) how accurate or useful is a number that small, especially when you add in the first rule of statistics: Correlation does not equal causation.

Recall bias, confounders etc have the same effect with high correlations as low. They are a seperate issue. Confounding and recall bias are just as much an issue if your relative risk is 10 then if your relative risk is 1.01. Significance talks about the accuracy of your measurement, bias and confounding say something about the validity of it. They are two different things.

Next, you are taking wildly different quotes from wildly different disciplines, without any of their context.

"As a general rule of thumb, we are looking for a relative risk of 3 or more before accepting a paper for publication." - Marcia Angell, editor of the New England Journal of Medicine"

"My basic rule is if the relative risk isn't at least 3 or 4, forget it." - Robert Temple, director of drug evaluation at the Food and Drug Administration.

The first two are from a medical prescription point of view, and they are correct. You prescribe medicines to a relatively small group of people and always risk certain side effects. In this case smaller effects are indeed not interesting. Not because they cannot be true, but because the benefits of the medicine are too small to warrant using them a certain drug or treatment. But environmental smoke is not a medicine, it is a substance in the air potentially affecting many people. The quotes are irrelevant to this context.

"Relative risks of less than 2 are considered small and are usually difficult to interpret. Such increases may be due to chance, statistical bias, or the effect of confounding factors that are sometimes not evident." - The National Cancer Institute

"An association is generally considered weak if the odds ratio [relative risk] is under 3.0 and particularly when it is under 2.0, as is the case in the relationship of ETS and lung cancer." - Dr. Kabat, IAQC epidemiologist

Note that in these quotes neither of these people say there cannot be an effect. Rather, they say that interpreting the results is harder. A weak association is still an association and can still be causal.

Sorry, but quote mining doesn't help your case.

And if the individual studies do not reach this number, we can always pool comparable studies in a meta-analysis to get the same levels of significance.


Ah, yes, the delightful and lovely meta-analysis, the easiest kind of study to fake and manipulate.

When the World Health Organization did a well conducted case-control study that showed no statistically significant increase in illness from SHS, first they tried to bury it. When that was unsuccessful, due to the hounding of the British press, they put out a press release with a lie for a

Tom

`Contrariwise,' continued Tweedledee, `if it was so, it might be; and if it were so, it would be; but as it isn't, it ain't. That's logic.'
-Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Caroll-
Edited by - tomk80 on 01/13/2009 13:09:17
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tomk80
SFN Regular

Netherlands
1278 Posts

Posted - 01/13/2009 :  13:00:00   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit tomk80's Homepage Send tomk80 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
To respond to some of Dave's points:

Originally posted by Hittman

Which "ill effects?"

"Hurt" and "ill effects" are not defined here. It's impossible to agree.

Undefined effects, no indication that - for example - cancer isn't a toxicological effect.


Ah yes, the Dave W. Captain Nitpick technique for shutting down discussion. Demand a precise definition for every word used. And be sure to keep your dictionary of logical falsies handy so you can throw those out at least once per post.

Asking clarification about which ill effects you are talking about is anything but nitpicking. It makes quite a difference whether you are talking about mortality, cause-specific mortality (like deaths due to lung-cancer) or chronic diseases. If you tell me that high exposure to lead will cause my hand to drop off, I think you're crazy. If you tell me it has an effect on cognitive performance, I think there is quite some merit to your claim. Which effect are you talking about?

<snipped>
Confidence intervals and relative risks depend upon sample size. Anyone who states "RRs of 1.15 to 1.25... are the very lowest numbers statistics can measure" is talking out his butt, with or without the nebulous qualifier regarding "most RRs."


Sample size is one rather important factor. There are several others, though, including the quality and accuracy of the data.

Quality and accuracy of your data do not influence your confidence intervals. They will change the validity of your results (am I measuring the right thing), not the confidence interval.

<snipped>


http://www.ama-assn.org/public/peer/7_15_98/jpv71013.htm

I'll read this later, but have you got anything more recent? Like, from the last five years or so?

Publication bias effects studies that show no increase in risk, not just for SHS, but for anything.

No, publication effects studies that are "more of the same", regardless of the significance or non-significance of the results. Publication bias tends to hold for the current scientific consensus and is generally not related to "common knowledge".

It's not surprising that studies to fight woo-woo are getting published. What would be really surprising is if studies that show something contrary to the "common knowledge," which is only common because of the incessant yammering of the nicotine nannies and their willing (and often eager) parrots, got published. But because the majority of such studies are funded by anti-smokers, studies likely to come to such conclusions are not likely to even be conducted, much less published.

Try as I might, I really can't make sense of that paragraph.

And that's the real bottom line with this kind of psudo-scientifc nonsense. The goal is to make smokers into pariahs, people to dangerous and scary to be around, thus forcing people to quit. It's worked to some extent with SHS, but since most smokers take it in stride and politely step outside for a smoke (hell, I do that in my own house) now they need a way to make that behavior dangerous and scary.

Regardless of your claim of pseudo-science and that I haven't been able to find any scientific articles that point in the direction you are talking about, a first indication would be fairly easy to obtain. If the polonium-210 claim is correct, all you need to do is get a bunch of kids or adults, let them play around a non-smoking smoker or in an ex-smoker's house and measure polonium 210 levels in their blood before and after. Compare this to a control-group. If these levels have increased in the exposed group but not in the control group, this would be evidence for a causal relation between contact with a smoker (Third Hand Smoke) and polonium 210 in, for example, blood. It would be an indication for further research. I actually think such an experiment could be performed in a way that would pass ethical committees. If you'd get a positive result (ie, increased Po 210 in children playing with smokers) I'd be happy to write a nice research proposal for an epidemiological study on Third Hand Smoke exposure and their effects on health. I mean, my current project will last for four years, but I'll need work afterwards

Tom

`Contrariwise,' continued Tweedledee, `if it was so, it might be; and if it were so, it would be; but as it isn't, it ain't. That's logic.'
-Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Caroll-
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BigPapaSmurf
SFN Die Hard

3192 Posts

Posted - 01/13/2009 :  13:04:39   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send BigPapaSmurf a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Nice work Tom, looks like you have a few too many [/quote]s in there...

One thing, can't repeated exposure also reduce reaction in some cases?

"...things I have neither seen nor experienced nor heard tell of from anybody else; things, what is more, that do not in fact exist and could not ever exist at all. So my readers must not believe a word I say." -Lucian on his book True History

"...They accept such things on faith alone, without any evidence. So if a fraudulent and cunning person who knows how to take advantage of a situation comes among them, he can make himself rich in a short time." -Lucian critical of early Christians c.166 AD From his book, De Morte Peregrini
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