Thursday 28 March 2019

Turning drinking into smoking

You may have seen reports today about a bottle of wine being the cancer equivalent of ten cigarettes. The figure is false and the comparison is meaningless. It is an attempt to scare the statistically naive and promote the idea that drinking is the new smoking.

I wrote about it for Spectator Health...

The most shameless example yet of the deliberate conflation of smoking and drinking was published today. A study in BMC Public Health claims that drinking one bottle of wine a week increases the risk of cancer by the same amount as smoking ten cigarettes a week (if you’re a woman) or by five cigarettes (if you’re a man). Its authors say that their intention is to provide ‘a useful measure for communicating possible cancer risks that exploits successful historical messaging on smoking’. They insist that they are ‘not saying that drinking alcohol in moderation is in any way equivalent to smoking’.

Yeah, right. The only reason this study was conducted was to generate headlines to the effect of 'drinking is as bad as smoking' - and it has worked. The 'study' might boost the impact factor of the journal that published it, but it has no academic merit. There is no reason for it to exist other than as propaganda.

Do have a read.

1 comment:

Chris Oakley said...

The BBC is having a bad day. Public health groupie Nick Triggle has been giving the oxygen of publicity to the tiny group of intellectually challenged authoritarians who want to raise the smoking age to 21.