This forum is about wrong numbers in science, politics and the media. It respects good science and good English.
Since this was a well thought-out press release; it would seem to be a deliberate deception. Gary K.
Not really a surprise - elsewhere on the site they reference the 'latest' figures from a meta study of 18 other studies as 'concluding' there is a 25% increase in risk.
Interesting to note also that the BHF Finance Director is at the same time Honorary Treasurer of Action on Smoking and Health.
I feel that the degree of immersion in perceived health problems that the exclusive group of people who run these charities are exposed to may be injurious to their judgement. I'm not sure of the relative risk.
Didn't know that before Grant, thanks. And Gary, i quite agree with your comments too.
Dr Michael Siegel is getting stuck into this subject with some gusto on his blog here. http://tobaccoanalysis.blogspot.com/2006/04/another-inaccurate-scientific-claim.html
Maybe John has said it all before on this subject, but I thought he would have liked this one as it is one of the worst (best?) wrong numbers i have come across in a while.
I think the web page may have been changed - the link does not contain all of the text originally quoted here and also indicated on the Siegel site.
Siegel accepts the 25% risk increase reports and is clearly anti-smoking so is merely trying to limit the damage from people presenting absurd numbers.
Whether the RR is indeed an additional 25% is something that has been questioned elsewhere, especially since I believe the evidence is based on self reporting at all levels and over an extended period of time which alone suggests the 'results' are unlikely to be very useful.
Not that such situations have ever stood in the way of social engineering zealots of course.
In human terms, if such numbers were universally considered to be important, there would be no violence and certainly no warfare. Clearly there are many around the globe who do not share the same view about the point at which such things become unacceptable.
Agreed, though Siegel is at least denouncing the 30 minutes exposure causing heart attacks at least thats a start :)
Well thats one part of one wrong number removed,
How many more to go eh?!!
If those who would seek accuracy, this quorum for example, could be (time and inclination as well as funds likely to be lacking) as well organised and active as those who take less care I think the criticisms that Seigel raises as concerns could indeed fly. 'Correcting' the press releases does not help those who would like to point out the many errors at all.
One aspect of the UK press, for example, is that they will splash headlines that people will read and remember as 'fact' but print tiny apologies for inaccuracies in obscure parts of some much later publication. They know that the initial impact of the headline will be the one the public will remember if they remember anything specific at all.
No point in letting the truth get in the way of a good headline with the journalists name on the by line.
I agree with you. Here's the proof. This is where I originally found the article.
Of course it (the lie) is still there and wherever else it has propagated too. It's only been removed from the BHF site, the original source. They still trumpet the 25% RR.
I wrote them a note about the error and got a reply back where they said they were going to try to review their PR better in the future.
I also wrote and asked about the source of the figures and for some indication of the sort of numbers (body count) they would predict.
I got the same sort of response about the error being spotted too late to correct for the release. No indication of the predicted numbers though.
The source would appear to be one of their own reports from 2005. I assume their reference to a previous publication is simply a literal interpretaton of my question rather than the deeper understanding that I might be interested in knowing the source(s) of the raw data. Perhaps the referenced report will give me that information.
Further detail about correspondence with BHF on this subject can be found at: