Saturday, 12 December 2009

Weasel words from Wales


Having tracked down the Welsh Chief Medical Officer's Annual Report - which inspired the Daily Post and the BBC to publish misleading and incorrect stories of a Welsh heart miracle - it's interesting to read what the man himself actually has to say.

On page 46, the report says (with my emphasis):

Hospital admissions for heart attacks were reduced in 2008 and although this decline cannot be wholly attributed to the smoking ban, some studies suggest that at least some of the reduction is due to the legislation.

It's hard to imagine a more feeble statement on which to base a major news story. Besides, the "studies" he refers to have ranged from the dubious to the outright fraudulent. The evidence from Wales certainly doesn't "suggest" any such phenomenon and that, you might think, would be what should concern the Welsh Chief Medical Officer. He might at least have looked at Scotland, England, Australia, New Zealand, Denmark, Connecticut and the many other places which saw no effect from smoking bans on the heart attack rate.

As with the New Zealand data recently unearthed by the eagle-eyed Michael Siegel, advocates are resorting to the trick of saying "we saw no evidence ourselves, but other studies have". No serious scientist would do such a thing, particularly in such a new field of research. 

It is abundantly clear that these people are clutching at straws.



5 comments:

TheBigYin said...

Is it any wonder that scientists are in such low regard these days. Why is the mass media pandering to this sort of trickery?

Klaus K said...

Don't forget that mainstream media is demanding positive stories about the smoking ban, since they believe that the majority of readers love the ban ...

Maybe somone should investigate the polls in UK. They show quite different results than the polls in Denmark fx. where the resistance against the smoking ban seems higher.

I just wonder why ...

Klaus K said...

He might at least have looked at Scotland, England, Australia, New Zealand, Denmark, Connecticut and the many other places which saw no effect from smoking bans on the heart attack rate.

And don't forget the United States:

http://www.nber.org/tmp/53834-w14790.pdf

Dick Puddlecote said...

This is why it's great to see scientists squirming over the CC scepticism. It doesn't matter whether one believes the CC theories or not, just that scientists are bristling and getting VERY irritated by their reputations being queried.

If it leads to a system whereby science is conducted above board and without interference from politicians or vested interest, all good.

Anonymous said...

Why did the BBC publish a piece with specific figures for heart attacks and refer to this report. Were they encouraged to do so by the Welsh Goverment?