Friday, 29 July 2016

Ridiculous comparisons (part two)

On Wednesday I mentioned the tendency of 'public health' folk to compare their ample budgets with a completely unrelated number. In that instance, it was Yoni Freedhof comparing the cost of a single cancer research programme to the combined marketing budgets of US food companies. What point was he making? God only knows.

I thought that was a particularly silly example, but you can always count on Stanton Glantz to up the ante...

States spend more on movies that push smoking than on programs to prevent it

The fourteen states hand out the most lavish subsidies to Hollywood film producers together spent $1.48 billion on movies proven to recruit kids to smoke from 2010 to 2016 — $150 million more than they invested over the same period to reduce smoking.

2010 to 2016, six individual states spent more to subsidize smoking movies than on programs to reduce smoking: Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Nevada and New Mexico.

New York State and Pennsylvania spent nearly as much to promote smoking as they did to reduce smoking. California, Connecticut and North Carolina spent at least two-thirds as much on films with smoking as they did on tobacco control.

Together, the fourteen states with the most active film subsidy programs spent $1.47 billion on top-grossing movies that promote smoking between 2010 and mid-2016, compared to $1.33 billion for smoking prevention.

To understand what on earth Glantz is talking about you have to understand that he is a fruitcake who thinks that any film that shows tobacco use in any context, however briefly, is 'promoting smoking'.

He therefore thinks that a dollar spent subsidising a movie is directly comparable to a dollar spent on projects that explicitly tell people not to smoke.

There's not much more to say about this. These people are just insane.

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