Smoking Unicorns

Wherever  there's a completely useless or heavily biased research or study on smoking or vaping, with findings easily disprovable by anyone who vapes – heck if my cat vaped she'd be capable of doing it too – you can bet your farm that Simon Chapman is lauding it. And applauding it on his twitter account from which we all seem to have been banned, so that he can sell his bs to the already misinformed without any disturbance from our pesky common sense.

So, here's  is another gem from the tireless well oiled and even better funded anti-smoking workshop. Actually, when I think more about it, it's not really anti-smoking. That's just smoke and mirrors, forgive the bad pun. It is anti-smokers and that's why it bothers me.

Low cigarette consumption and risk of coronary heart disease and strokeis a research paper by Allan Hackshaw, Joan K. Morris et al. published at DMJ.   

Here's the thing: whether this is biased or not, I have no way of assessing. However, what I can clearly see  is its complete uselessness.

 Conclusion of their "meta-analysis of 141 cohort studies in 55 study reports":

Smoking only about one cigarette per day carries a risk of developing coronary heart disease and stroke much greater than expected: around half that for people who smoke 20 per day. No safe level of smoking exists for cardiovascular disease. 

Another scientifically packaged quitordie nonsense. These people sat down to analyze the existing study papers. They didn't actually talk to anyone. The talking was probably and hopefully done by all those  who performed  141 cohort studies that  these 5 boldly analyzed. 

Still, there's a question to answer: How on earth can anyone find people who smoke 1 cigarette a day. You're right, no one can.

Going All Anal-ytic

So, our anti-smokers here shuffled some more cohort studies from that huge pile of 51 reports and  did some more of their statistical calculations with relative risks and other bells and whistles. And so they found that

For stroke, the pooled relative risks for men were 1.25 and 1.64 for smoking one or 20 cigarettes per day … In women, the pooled relative risks were 1.31 and 2.16 for smoking one or 20 cigarettes per day… The excess risk for stroke associated with one cigarette per day (in relation to 20 cigarettes per day) was 41% for men and 34% for women …

To be honest with you, I'm not able to answer how exactly they came to their conclusions and whether these are correct from some strict mathematical  point. But heck, it's clear to me that their conclusions were not worth coming to.

Chasing Fairy Tale Smokers

You see, I'm pretty sure they did not find people who smoked one cigarette a day. Simply because such smokers are unicorns. Nobody has seen them, but our highly esteemed group of scientists just loves to dream about them. And study and research imaginary individuals who represent exactly nobody. 

Although clueless about statistics in general, even I know that for any study to be worth its salt, you've got to assemble a representative sample. I'd say hundreds or even tens, if it doesn't go any better, and then you have some leg to stand on while  waving your papers in front of anybody who dares to oppose your findings.

You'd be really hard-pressed to find a similar nonsense to make an analogy here. You can easily find people who drink one glass wine a day  On most days they have a glass of wine after dinner. That's it. On most days is what can count  as consistence.

People simply do not smoke 1 cigarette a day. Even those who consistently  smoke 2 or 3 cigarettes a day are rare enough. Smoking pattern of most light smokers is different. 

It would be much easier to find those who don't usually smoke at all, but when there's a party, or just a couple of friends get together,  they would smoke 1, 3, 5 or even more cigarettes that they got from their group and random people and would feel sick afterwards. Mostly because they generally don't smoke and now they have mixed several different brands of cigs. And then, they wouldn't smoke for days or even weeks until they forget the unpleasant feeling associated with smoking. Until the next social occasion.

Helping Nobody

Another thing, when smokers  on the heavier side - pack a day and more - try to reduce their cigarette intake,  no one goes a-cigarette-a-day route. Not a single one. That would be torture.

Some quit cold turkey  and, as a rule, they do it without any of our public healthers' help. Others try mostly ineffective gums and patches or right out dangerous Chantix-Champix crap peddled by Big Pharma. Or lately, something much better and more effective – electronic cigarette!

From the Conclusion, again:

Smokers should aim to quit instead of cutting down to significantly reduce their risk of these two common major disorders. 

This  cig a day harm mantra is not only based on imaginary smoker with unreal habits, it's also useless. They are talking about smoking unicorns and trying to dissuade people from becoming – smoking unicorns. As if there are folks who want to become ones.

More often than not you'd have folks smoking 20-40-60 cigs a day and trying to cut down to 10-15-20. Now, that's something to study, isn't it? Something, pardon my French dear scientists, from real life.  We already know there is no safe smoking. But isn't the number of people you'd easily find  available for this study, worth the effort?

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Written by Ljubica, @Switchtoecig, ex teacher, translator, passionate reader, ex smoker and now vaper, e-cig reviewer and vaping advocate.

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