smoking

Last week, international media outlets reported that asparagus causes cancer. It does not.

Like a series of bad sequels, the media is back with yet another terribly botched story. This time, the claim is that using household cleaning sprays is like smoking 20 cigarettes per day. Wrong again.

The study, which used a cohort design, examined lung capacity and function among...

Why do people continue to smoke? Why do we seem to reach a point where education and taxation have not continued to reduce the numbers of people that begin smoking? Are they not “rational” decision makers (some may prefer the term idiots) or is there something else at play?

Smokers despite being aware of the health consequences, underestimate their risk. This is a common problem for all of us and for a range of our behaviors. It is sometimes difficult to quantify the probability/risk of an event, especially when its chance of occurrence is small or when the risk might occur later, rather than now. The economic term for changing judgment based upon when something will occur is temporal discounting. For those of you of a certain age, it can be neatly summed up as “I will gladly...

Like most topics in America these days, e-cigarettes are controversial. The reason stems largely from the fact that the debate is driven less by science and more by religious zealotry.

On the one side is the pro-vaping lobby, who seems to believe that e-cigarettes are the greatest invention since the wheel. Not only are e-cigarettes effective for quitting smoking, they are safe and fun.

On the other side is the prohibitionists, who believe that the mere thought of vaping is blasphemous. According to them, e-cigarettes are just as bad as tobacco, and therefore the only acceptable public health policy is total abstention.

Both sides are wrong. While the vapers are right that e-cigarettes can help smokers quit, it is unlikely that they are as safe as breathing fresh...

My wife and I travel frequently from our home in Seattle to Europe to visit her parents. I've been across the pond 20 times, and I've visited 18 countries there.

Whenever I listen to Americans talk about Europe, I'm struck by how little they actually understand it. To the Left, Europe is a progressive paradise -- scientifically savvy, technologically advanced, and culturally liberal with cradle-to-grave welfare for all. To the Right, Europe is a socialist hellhole -- an economically stagnant, irreligious, morally bankrupt continent of has-beens.

These diametrically opposed caricatures are completely wrong. As is often the case, the truth is somewhere in the middle.

Take science policy, for instance. Europe notoriously embraces the "precautionary principle,"...

Smoking really is as bad as everybody says it is.

A person's chance of getting lung cancer depends on how many years one has smoked, as well as how many cigarettes one has smoked per day. In general, according to the International Journal of Cancer, smoking makes a man nearly 24 times more likely to get lung cancer and a woman almost 8 times more likely. Put another way, smoking increases a man's risk of lung cancer by 2,300% and a woman's by 700%.

Lung cancer isn't the only thing a smoker needs to worry about. Smoking is linked to several different cancers, and it damages the cardiovascular, respiratory, and immune systems. Indeed, as the...

E-cigarettes are "effective in helping people quit smoking" and "95% safer than smoking."* Additionally, there are "no health risks to bystanders."

What evil, conniving, greedy, Big Tobacco-loving, propaganda-spewing group of shills says that? The UK's National Health Service (NHS).

On its website, the NHS discusses a report issued by Public Health England (another UK government agency) that examined the available evidence on e-cigarettes. The report is unambiguous in...

The King County Health Department, which serves mostly the city of Seattle and its suburbs, has recently earned a reputation for being driven by politics rather than by evidence-based medicine or common sense.

Last month, the county decided that crisis pregnancy centers that don't perform abortions aren't "real healthcare." According to its website, Care Net -- a crisis pregnancy center in the Puget Sound region -- performs pregnancy tests, STD screens, and ultrasounds and provides prenatal education. Because such crisis centers are often faith-based, what they don't do is perform or encourage abortions.

That's anathema to Seattle, a city whose residents and politicians have little use for religion or...

There is good news and bad news from the 2016 National Youth Tobacco Survey, published in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

The bad news is that teenagers are still smoking and 3.9 million of them are current tobacco users (having a tobacco product in the past 30 days) - a number made even more upsetting by the fact that nine out of ten cigarette smokers first try smoking by age 18. As we have long said, smoking is a pediatric disease and if we can end it in kids, few adults will take it up.

The good news is that that use dropped from 4.7 million in 2015.

The usage of most products decreased to some extent but there was a significant decrease in the usage of vaping products...

Beginning in May of this year, all cigarettes sold in the UK must be packaged to standards regulating material, size, shape, opening mechanism and more importantly with plain packaging.

And by plain packaging, I mean a "mud-green box" stripped of all branding. Like this: 

 

 

 

 

The tobacco companies argued that plain packaging was ineffectual. But as the Financial Times notes

"The argument that plain packaging was ineffectual was...

Once again, the echo chamber nature of press releases serves to promote misleading science and health clickbait.  This time it is with headlines like “Tobacco, but not pot, boosts early stroke risk.” 

First, it is an imprecise conclusion based on the newly published study.  Second, the research it refers to downplays the significant flaws and limitations of its own work.  

Let’s break down the findings for you to draw accurate (and your own) conclusions.  The goal of the work was to determine whether there is an “association between cannabis use and early-onset stroke, when accounting for the use of tobacco and alcohol.”

Who was studied and how was the data acquired? (1)

  • Population-based cohort study comprised of 49,321 Swedish men (...