Professor Simon Chapman replies

Professor Simon Chapman was kind enough to reply to my post yesterday, in the interests of balance here is a more prominent place for it.

“You clowns are such amazing researchers. So you’ve “discovered” this, eh! Only 14 years after it was published in the Canberra Times on April 21, 1997. Here’s my letter that was published the next day.

***

Alan Gale’s report and your headline (“Passive smoking results were doctored, documents say” (CT April 21) defames all the members of the NH&MRC’s working party in its claim that we
“massaged” research results and deleted those “which did not suit recommendations”. The ordinary reader, and especially our colleagues in public health research throughout Australia and internationally would be highly likely to form the view that we were scientifically dishonest and engaged in deceptive practices that should bring us into gross disrepute within our
professions.
Gale bases his claims on a fax I sent to other members of the group in 1995 where I raised two concerns about an early working draft chapter. First, I argued that “fractional” annual deaths (ie: death rates of less than one per age band) would prove difficult for journalists and the public to understand. When Gale interviewed me for the article, I put to him the simplest of questions that sought to test his ability as a journalist to decipher what “0.5″ deaths per annum meant. His struggled reply was incomplete, thus demonstrating my point. There are many perfectly correct ways of expressing the same data in more comprehensible forms, and my fax urged nothing more than that we should realise that the table would cause unnecessary confusion. I subsequently argued in the committee that we should recast the data in a more
understandable way (for example one death every 9 months).

His claim that this means we then “doctored” the data is grossly offensive, damaging to our reputations as researchers and wrong, as the publication of the final report will reveal. It
is standard procedure for all draft papers to undergo changes and editing. Often these are to improve clarity.

Second, I pointed out that our very conservative methodology estimated there to be some 93 annual deaths from ischaemic heart disease caused by passive smoking in Australia, whereas
a recent American estimate put the US figure at 62,000. Since then the US Environmental Protection Agency has published an 8 volume report (http://www.calepa.calnet.gov/) showing some 65,000 deaths. I advised the committee — correctly — that our report would be therefore “out of step with every international review’s conclusion on this subject”. Without offering a shred of evidence, Gale then implies that the committee somehow as a consequence of this then “deleted” or “doctored” material. In fact, the final report includes the same very conservative estimates which resulted from our only considering domestic (spousal) exposure data in people who have never smoked. We did not factor in workplace exposures, nor deaths among ex-smokers.

My fax rehearsed the sort of questions that we were likely to get from those who were familiar with the much higher US mortality estimates. If we had really wanted to “massage results to suit recommendations” why then would we have persisted in using our ultra-conservative methodology which was guaranteed to produce low estimates of deaths?

Significantly, Gale’s article was run in the week that two private member’s bills on passive smoking are due to be debated in the NSW parliament. The Canberra Times should know
better.
***
I’m sorry if my posting on this list has caused any of you too much excitement. Just have a lie down. It should pass.
Simon Chapman

 

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75 Responses to Professor Simon Chapman replies

  1. JJ says:

    Clowns?

    It would appear that the biggest clown of all is you. The only reason you grasp at the straws of epidemiology is because you have no intrinsic medical or scientific evidence i.e. post-mortem evidence that anyone has ever been killed by ‘passive smoking’. No such physical evidence exists or has ever existed.

    Epidemiology should never be used as a stand alone tool to determine the cause of death, that is the domain of pathology. You should only use epidemiology as an adjunct to pathology. For instance, if there were 963 deaths last year from say pancreatic cancer, as determined by post-mortem (hence an exact figure and not some ludicrous estimate), then you would use epidemiology to make sense of these figures by:

    1. ethnicity
    2. age
    3. gender
    4. and demographics

    By using epidemiology, which is nothing more than statistical conjecture, to give some illusory figure about supposed ‘passive smoking’ deaths, you’re putting the cart before the horse. Or does that not occur to you? Epidemiological studies are observational studies carried out by questionnaire, somebody standing on a street corner with a clip-board asking questions about parents smoking habits for example. Or these surveys are done over the phone – and you call this evidence?

    This daft nonsense can say whatever you want it to say – it depends who’s paying the bill. It’s an inexact approach to something that cannot be scientifically measured with any degree of certainty. I would have thought a clever clown like you would know this.

    While you’re at it (Billy Smart’s big-top clown) perhaps you can answer this question for me.

    What is the biological sequence of events whereby the inhalation of smoke from a cigarette, cigar or pipe mutates healthy lung tissue into cancerous lung tissue, and do we know enough about genetics to rule genetics in or out?

    If you get bored with wrapping your head around this question, then do this. Buy yourself a curly green wig, big red nose and some huge comedy shoes – unless of course you’ve already got big comedy feet – and go off and entertain your cronies with zealot tattooed on their bilge-pump skulls!

    • chris says:

      gee who pays your wages mr chapman some of the rubbish you say about wind farms and health tells me who really is the puppet

  2. Pat Nurse says:

    What a nasty person he is and so representative that this issue is not about health but hate.

  3. Rollo Tommasi says:

    No Pat. The nastiness and hate comes entirely from someone who so quickly rushes to accuse a professional of lying, based on half a fax (he didn’t even have the 2nd page!) and a complete misunderstanding of the issues being discussed.

    Sorry to say this Dave, but you should be ashamed of your behaviour and for making such a strong and wrong accusation based on either accidental or deliberate misunderstanding of the one page of the fax that you did have. It’s one thing to accuse fellow bloggers of lying in the cut and thrust of an internet debate. It is something else entirely when you are making that accusation about a professional, who has a professional reputation to protect, unless your grounds for doing so are strong.

    You should be very relieved that Simon Chapman chose to respond to your nasty accusation, instead of threatening to sue you.

    • Frank J says:

      ” instead of threatening to sue you.”

      That would be interesting. Suggest you check the law on defamation. You don’t have to be a downright liar to be found against. You only have to allow or create the impression of.

  4. Rollo Tommasi says:

    That said Dave, well done on at least posting Simon Chapman’s response. Let’s see how many of the other comments on this thread are actually about that fax, rather than a rag-bag of other issues they might want to put to Mr Chapman.

  5. Yes, it’s an oldie, but still a goldie, and it’s amusing to see Chapman still squirming all these years later. Here he is using the old quack’s trick of portraying wild extrapolations as conservative estimates. Nay, ‘ultra-conservative’ estimates! I invite you consider the likelihood of a man like Chapman – who is such a frothing-at-the-mouth wowser that he used to spend his evenings spraying unfunny slogans on billboards – being ultra-conservative about anything. The Australian estimate of ETS lung cancer risk were, in fact, higher than those used in the EPA report of 1993 and were higher than the later SCOTH report. Even so, the resulting death count was in single figures per annum in a country of 19 million – which is not just negligible but undetectable for all practical purposes.

    Naturally, the wrinkly rocker was worried that showing these statistics in the conventional ‘deaths per 100,000’ would expose the risk as slender to nil, hence the spin. As ever, the rules and conventions that real scientists abide by had to be abandoned in the case of ETS. It’s absurd that an ideological warrior with no relevant qualification – Chapman is a sociologist, remember – was allowed anywhere near the process.

  6. Rollo Tommasi says:

    Polemic nonsense from Chris Snowdon! Yet nothing – NOTHING – to back up Dave Atherton’s callous claim that Simon Chapman lied on this issue.

  7. Pat Nurse says:

    Rollo, manipulating figures – which is what i understand has happened here – to achieve exclusion, disgust and even denial of employment and housing of a particular lifestyle group doesn’t sound very caring to me.

    Please correct me if I am wrong, but wasn’t it Mr Chapman who pushed the idea of : Smokers as malodorous, smokers as employment liabilities, smokers as a social underclass, smokers as unattractive, smokers as undesirable etc… again, doesn’t sound like concenr based on love of fellow human beings or concern for their health but rather a hatred of people now defined by what they do and in some cases who they are.

  8. Rollo Tommasi says:

    Pat – Utter nonsense. Simon Chapman did not “manipulate” the research findings, nor did he suggest anyone else should. He was questioning how those figures should be presented in public, without affecting their factual accuracy. He was well within his rights to do that, in the same way as care should be taken in ANY publication to presenting results in ways that people understand.

    If you don’t know the difference between changing results and presenting unchanged results in different ways, then I worry for you.

    • harleyrider1978 says:

      ahh Rollo shows his face again,rollo perhaps this will cool your denial!

      Lung Cancer a Different Disease in Smokers and Nonsmokers

      PHILADELPHIA — Lung cancer that develops in smokers is not the same disease as lung cancer that develops in people who’ve never touched a cigarette, a new study finds.

      There are nearly twice as many DNA changes in the tumors of people who have never smoked than in the tumors of people who smoke, which suggests the cancer of “never-smokers” is different from smokers’ cancer, said Kelsie Thu, a Ph.D. candidate at the BC Cancer Research Center in Canada.

      “We think this finding provides evidence that never-smoker and smoker lung cancers are different, and suggests they arise through different molecular pathways,” Thu told MyHealthNewsDaily. “Never-smokers might be exposed to a carcinogen, not from cigarettes, that causes their tumors to have more DNA alterations and promotes lung cancer development.”

      http://www.livescience.com/11090-lung-cancer-disease-smokers-nonsmokers.html

  9. daveatherton says:

    This is what I am referring to, from the words of Dr. Jerome Arnett a pulmonologist.:

    “In addition, influential anti-tobacco activists, including prominent academics, have unethically attacked the research of eminent scientists in order to further their ideological and political agendas. The abuse of scientific integrity and the generation of faulty “scientific” outcomes (through the use of pseudoscience) have led to the deception of the American public on a grand scale and to draconian government overregulation and the squandering of public money. Millions of dollars have been spent promoting belief in SHS as a killer, and more millions of dollars have been spent by businesses in order to comply with thousands of highly restrictive bans, while personal choice and freedom have been denied to millions of smokers. Finally, and perhaps most tragically, all this has diverted resources away from discovering the true cause(s) of lung cancer in nonsmokers.”

    http://news.heartland.org/newspaper-article/2008/07/01/scientific-evidence-shows-secondhand-smoke-no-danger

  10. Ivan D says:

    From a scientific perspective, the quality of the underlying data is such that any attempt to present it quantitatively is highly likely to be inaccurate and indefensible. Simon Chapman is of course not a scientist but a sociologist and in sociology circles it appears to be perfectly OK to present whatever you like provided that it is “on message”. Irrespective of what Chapman did or didn’t do, the epidemiological evidence with respect to SHS is pitifully weak so all claims that quantify deaths arising from it are meaningless in any objective sense.

  11. Rollo Tommasi says:

    Dave – Aside from the fact that the Arnett article is flawed in the extreme, what on earth has the quote got to do with your claim that Simon Chapman lied?

    Admit it, Dave. You’ve made a callous accusation against Mr Chapman which you can’t defend. Rather than trying to move the subject away from what he did and did not say in that fax, why not do the honourable thing and admit you were wrong?

  12. Let us see the whole picture on the issue

    At the end of the nineties ETS and consequently banning smoking in public places was first priority in the agenda of the tobacco control (No talk as of yet about banning smoking in cars,third hand smoking ,movies etc – these ones came later )

    Australia was discussing the ETS issue.And ofcourse it should have shown that ETS poses a risk

    First opposing voices should have been silenced or discredited

    According to this article , http://members.iinet.net.au/~ray/rayrev.htm
    Dr Julian Lee who was opposed on the danger of ETS , was receiving ad hominem attacks by the likes of Glantz and Chapman

    Second the studies must show that ETS poses a significant risk to the society

    And then we come to the fax.

    It makes sense to change the way you are going to present the figures to someone who does not possess the technical knowledge in order to make it more understandable.
    Then everyone can provide his/her own interpretations and recommendations on the figures

    What does NOT make sense is that if you realise that the figures does not provide the results you were waiting for and what do you do about that one.

    According to the fax there is scepticism for the number of deaths from ETS for Australia.They should have been 4247 if used the american analogy , not 93 as per calculated

    But hold on,,the approach used from the data was very conservative.Fine, let’s use the most non conservative approach that gives us an increase to the tune of almost 5000%!!!!

  13. Rollo Tommasi says:

    Likewise Ivan, you too are making a baseless accusation, which has nothing to do with Dave’s claim that Simon Chapman lied in his fax.

  14. Rollo Tommasi says:

    Dimi Karagian – I do not fully understand the point you are trying to make. But if you are trying to suggest that, in the fax, Chapman suggests that the results should be changed to be the same as in US studies, then you are completely wrong.

    All Chapman does is point out that they can expect to be asked why the results from their study show fewer deaths than from studies in other countries, which they need to prepare to answer.

    You argue – without ANY supporting evidence – that Chapman and colleagues decided to “use the most non conservative approach that gives us an increase to the tune of almost 5000%!!!!”, Since you’ve made that accusation, you should be able to show us the final published article to prove that your accusation is true.

    Can you do that? Or is yours another baseless accusation?

  15. Rollo, you didn’t understand me.

    First of all look again at the big picture.I believe I have already explained that one

    On the fax professional scepticism is applied about the credibility of the report ,based on the american analogy and the notion that ETS should be considered a major risk

    I was being sarcastic when I used ‘the non conservative approach’;I didn’t say that Chapman or the members skewed the results, although I would be more than happy if you can provide me with links that tells us how the study – which based on the fax shows that ETS poses no significant risk – was presented, whether it was taken into consideration in the parliamentary debates,and how did we end up with the smoking ban in Australia

    Rollo wake up and smell the flowers , it’s all about an agenda ,regardless if it’s the tobacco industry or the tobacco control movement!!!!

  16. Gary K. says:

    Ahhhh yes, the ‘pure of heart’ tobacco control advocates.

    For years, these people have been claiming that current smokers have 23 times the rate of lung cancer death as do never-smokers.

    I see Rollo over in the corner, jumping up and down shrieking:” It’s true, it’s true!!!!”

    American govt(CDC) data shows that never-smokers die from lung cancer at a rate of 2/10,000.

    23 times that has current smokers dying from lung cancer at a rate of 46/10,000.
    46 million current smokers = 4,600 groups of 10,000.

    4,600 X 46 = 211,600 current smoker lung cancer deaths per year.

    The TOTAL number of lung cancer deaths per year is ONLY 157,000.

    Gosh, do you suppose those people LIED ON PURPOSE?????

  17. Ivan D says:

    Perhaps Simon Chapman can help everyone out by providing a link to what was finally reported and the study on which the report was based? That way we could all see how honest he and his colleagues were when they presented their data.

  18. Junican says:

    ” I think we had better get out a thesaurus and find a lot of words to express the words ‘conservative estimate’ in hundreds of different ways…. We are looking down the barrel of a MAJOR public relations problem …” [Quote]

    What could the first sentence mean? “Find hundreds of different ways to express the words ‘conservative estimate'” Why? What is wrong with the words ‘conservative estimate’? I suppose that a thesaurus could, possibly. help to explain how a figure which should be around 4,000 using US methods, has turned out to be a mere 93 using Australian methods, although I doubt it. I rather think that what the professor was saying was something to the effect: ‘Let’s get our heads together and figure out a phraseology which will make the difference seem unimportant’. I am not saying that there is anything illegal in that, but it does rather suggest a wish to create an illusion, does it not? And does that not suggest a wish to deceive as suggested by the phrase: ‘a MAJOR public relations problem’ (to be avoided at all costs)?

    The professor’s letter to the newspaper does not actually address the issue (which is as I have stated above). Even in 1997, anti-smokers were thinking in terms of slogans.

  19. Rollo Tommasi says:

    Dimi – I’ve read your take on the “big picture”. You won’t be surprised when I tell you I don’t agree with your assessment.

    More than that, however, the Chapman fax has nothing to do with either element of your “big picture” theory. If you read the fax, you will find it in no way attempts to silence or discredit opposing voices. And the fax in no way tries to argue that second-hand smoke should be described as a bigger risk than can be justified from evidence in the study discussed.

    So your arguments are extraneous to this debate.

    As a result of which I ask again – in what way(s) has Simon Chapman supposedly “lied” in this fax?

    • I wasn’t expecting you to agree with me Rollo,I know that we both agree to disagree

      From a historian’s perspective though the individuals’s actions always have to be assessed according to the socioeconomic circumstances that surround him

      Now the fax itself doesn’t attempt to discredit voices,but rather raises concerns that the related report (RR 1.26, calculation of 93 deaths) is not within the desired framework that will enable the committe to implement its recommendations i.e tightening restrictions on workplaces

      But in the fax there are concerns raised about the credibility of the report itself because:

      1) American experience shows otherwise.Ridiculed to our international counterparts
      2) Number of deaths calculated and non equivalent proposal for restrictions.Ridiculed to the journalists

      Let’s see HOW the actual report was reported

      http://www.mja.com.au/public/issues/mar4/woodward/woodward.html

      ”Each year, according to the NHMRC report, passive smoking leads to more than 5400 extra hospital admissions in Australia and costs the country about $21 million. The brunt of this excess morbidity — 51 600 episodes of asthma (about 9% of all cases) in people aged less than 15 years, and about 2000 admissions to hospital in the first 18 months of life because of chest illness — is borne by children. THERE ARE APPROXIMATELY 10 ATTRIBUTABLE CASES OF LUNG CANCER (as per fax) among adults who have never smoked and 100 DEATHS FROM CORONARY DISEASE(as per fax).”

      TO ENHANCE THE CREDIBILITY OF THE REPORT:

      ”These figures are likely to be UNDERESTIMATES. The effects of passive smoking on current and ex-smokers have not been included, any effects of low levels of exposure in causing or exacerbating asthma have been ignored, and it has been assumed that passive smoking does not cause other respiratory problems in children over 18 months of age. EVIDENCE FROM OVERSEAS(as per fax) indicates that the burden of adult illness from exposure outside the home is likely to be at least as great as that from domestic exposure,3 but the NHMRC estimates include DOMESTIC EXPOSURE ONLY.”

      AND THE RECOMMENDATION OF THE COMMITTEE:

      ”Progress has been made in the provision of smoke-free workplaces, but about 40% of Australian indoor workers are still exposed to tobacco smoke at work.

      What is now the appropriate public policy response to more than two decades of careful scientific research into the risks associated with passive smoking? We probably can do little better than be guided by John Stuart Mill’s oft-quoted essay On liberty”

      Now Rollo, I rest my case , Simon Chapman and the rest of the Committe didn’t lie on their underestimated figures

      • Rollo Tommasi says:

        Good Dimi. I’m glad you and I agree that Simon Chapman and the rest of the Committee did not lie.

        The rest of your post shows that they subsequently reported the findings of their own study faithfully. And they placed the findings of their own study in the context of findings from other studies across the world.

        In other words, just as any reasonable research report should do.

      • Rollo, the committe calculated other figures and presented the whole report otherwise because they wanted to enable further smoking bans (the agenda that they were promoting)

        The logical conclusion from their findings would have been NOT to suggest a smoking ban , hence their emphasis on underestimates and the international counterparts

        Besides, someone doesn’t expect any of the members of the committe to be naive .They were under scrutiny from the tobacco industry at the same time , they wouldn’t try to skew their results directly

      • That’s the problem with epidemiology, ,you can produce X figures and report an interpretation of them as Y .And everyone will believe you because you are the ‘expert authority’ on the issue

        PS ”Now Rollo, I rest my case , Simon Chapman and the rest of the Committe didn’t lie on their underestimated figures”

        I was again ironic on the above sentence.I guess i have to understand how the blogosphere works furthermore!!!

  20. Rollo Tommasi says:

    Gary K – So I see you too are trying to maintain this idea that Simon Chapman “lied”, but completely ignore the fax itself! All you offer is an unsourced accusation of unnamed people, based on a number of equally unsourced figures.

    Tell me Gary. What has your statement got to do with Dave Atherton’s claim that Chapman lied in the fax?

    • Gary K. says:

      Gosh Rollo,
      I am saying that ALL you folks lie,not just Chapman.

      Now, if I am offering “an unsourced accusation of unnamed people, based on a number of equally unsourced figures”; then, you are saying that I am lying and YOU must prove that to be true.

      I am rather interested in seeing which of my numbers you THINK are untrue. 🙂

      • harleyrider1978 says:

        Gary there sources are all unamed victims to second hand smoke! You think rollo will come in with a list of 600,000 dead victims to shs a year as reported by tobacco control spinners!

        Rollo we will be waiting!

        A victimless crime was committed against a study that claimed victims to an imaginary threat that never existed until the study said it did. Now we have criminal laws on the books to protect victims that dont even exist! Just how much more insane must it get before these tobacco control criminals are brought to justice for creating an imaginary worldwide healthscare!

  21. Rollo Tommasi says:

    Junican – You’re another one trying to maintain this pretence that Simon Chapman lied. You offer a quote, but what a cynically selected quote it is.

    Can you explain why your quote ignores the first phrase of Chapman’s sentence – “If we are confident we are right….”??? It seems quite evident to me that your only purpose in omitting that phrase is to deliberately and cynically downplay words which prove that Chapman had no intention of twisting the findings of the study.

    It is nasty smear tactics for people to go out of their way to twist what others say in a deliberate effort to claim that they “lied”. You and Dave should both be ashamed of yourselves.

    • harleyrider1978 says:

      Rollo perhaps lying is a bit harsh,lets just say the entire study is a lie,who cares how they tried to spin the results to get a criminal law where no victims are even found!

      Rollo Im sure youve figured out the whole shs/ets scam is going down the tubes right along with the EU!

      I hope you havent been using your real name thru the years,you need to eat the same as the rest of us and even those who have lost everything because the bans put them out of business.

  22. Rollo, the committe calculated other figures and presented the whole report otherwise because they wanted to enable further smoking bans (the agenda that they were promoting)

    The logical conclusion from their findings would have been NOT to suggest a smoking ban , hence their emphasis on underestimates and the international counterparts

    Besides, someone doesn’t expect any of the members of the committe to be naive .They were under scrutiny from the tobacco industry at the same time , they wouldn’t try to skew their results directly

  23. Junican says:

    Rollo – have you been drinking filthy alcohol? Damn it! – I will now have to have a shower and wash my clothes because we all know that the fumes travel along telephone lines!

    Seriously, I did not say that Chapman lied. On the contrary, I believe that he told the truth – absolutely, absolutely (as Nathanson said regarding the peer review of the 23 times claim re tobacco smoke in cars). His truth was that something needs to be done about the bad publicity which may result from the disjunction between the Australian SHS figures and the US ones. His truth was to find words and phrases to minimise the potential bad publicity. HE SAID SO! If his research was only related to non-smoking spouses and that was the reason for the low figure, all he had to do was say so. The idea of ‘using a thesaurus to find lots of different words….’ can only be interpreted as an intention to deceive, or, at best, an intention to obfuscate. There is also an implication that the end justifies the means.

    That was 1997. What we have been seeing in the recent past is an increase in this obsession with propaganda. Even today, there was an article in The Mirror about liver disease in the North East of England. Look it up. You will see the most extraordinary conclusions drawn from the fact that there are a few alcoholics in the North East.

    “Hard cases make bad law”

  24. Rollo Tommasi says:

    GaryK – So you still claim that Simon Chapman lied, but also continue to avoid offering any evidence to show he is supposed to have lied.

    And now you even try to argue that, when you make a claim, the whole world should believe you. You do not need to provide any supporting sourced examples, references or other evidence. Your word should be good enough in itself.

    Good grief, you must have some ego.

    • Gary K. says:

      Dear Rollo,
      Until YOU PROVE that I am wrong, my statements stand as valid .

      So far, YOU have offered NO PROOF and I still wait to see which of my numbers you can prove are incorrect!!!!

      Nor do you show any hard facts/proof that the other people here are wrong.
      You even try to argue that, when you make a claim, the whole world should believe you. You do not need to provide any supporting sourced examples, references or other evidence. Your word should be good enough in itself.

      Good grief, you must have some ego.

      • Rollo Tommasi says:

        Thanks for confirming your arguments are baseless, Gary.

        If you could have justified them, you would have.

    • harleyrider1978 says:

      The study is the lie! Chapman just had the good sence and figured out hey nobody will buy this piece of junk science if it shows nothing,so lets figure out a way to make the LIE bigger than what it is! He is an accessory to the fact of pushing a lie,the lie of second hand smoke!

  25. Rollo Tommasi says:

    Dimi – First of all, sorry for not realising irony in your statement. When you say that Chapman did not lie and do not offer any evidence that he did lie, I am likely to conclude that you are not being ironic!

    Secondly, look at research reports. They invariably place the findings of the study itself in the context of any other findings from other studies. That is proper research.

    So you are accusing Chapman of doing the wrong thing by following the proper and standard approach for research reports!

    Thirdly, since when did even the most conservative figure from that report – 103 lung cancer and IHD deaths among never smokers in Australia caused by exposure in the home – become an acceptable number of deaths? Can you seriously be suggesting we shouldn’t be concerned about this number of deaths each year?

    • Rollo

      The committee found 10 lung cancer deaths and 93 IHD deaths

      They knew that only with this figure they couldn’t pass smoking bans.What do they do?

      They enhance the credibility of the report.How? by referring to underestimates and the international analogy!!! (Check the fax to see how worried they are)

      AND THIS IS WHERE THEY LIED

      If they had reported just the figures , they wouldn’t be able to ask for smoking bans!They knew about this!(Again , check on the fax)

      And don’t tell me that an increase of 5000% (from 93 to 4247 ) was because they wanted to put the the study itself in the context of any other findings from other studies!!
      (Which by the way it was only one, the EPA’s)

      I know that they didn’t report on 4247 deaths,but:

      1) On the fax Chapman himself says that he has calculated by using the american analogy for 4247 deaths for Australia

      Effectively it means they would have wanted a number close to this ,in order to match the american analogy and push for their agenda way much clear

      2) In the final report they refer to the international experience i.e the 4247 deaths

      They did that one based on the notion that their figures are UNDERESTIMATES to enhance the CREDIBILITY of the report!

      If we look on the hypothetical scenario that the committee had calculated 4 million deaths from ETS,
      what would they do,report that our figure is overestimated because the americans had calucated other figures and act accordingly based on what the Americans had caluclated? (Because this is effectively what they did)

      What are the Americans,the golden standard while the Australians are the stupid which produce under/overestimates? ( Or perhaps it’s because the TC movement has initiated in the States and effectively much reliance and control is given on them from the rest of the countries?)

      As for the number of deaths, don’t tell me if it’s serious or not , rather let’s go back to the fax and see what Chapman is saying, whilst him and the rest of the committee want to promote their agenda i.e more smoking bans:

      ”Much of your report recommends tightening restrictions on passive smoking in situations when adults are exposed.such as in workplaces.Surely with your calculations of deaths being so LOW,these recommendations are way over the top?’

      • Rollo Tommasi says:

        Dimi – You say “And this is where they lied”. And you do so in relation to where the Committee’s report refers to other international experiences.

        In other words, you claim the Committee “lied” when it did exactly what proper professional reports should do – that is, when it discussed their findings in the context of findings from other published reports. A proper report should do so, whether its findings are more or less conclusive than previously published literature. Why use US figures as the equivalents? I don’t know, but I expect it was because there were no previous equivalent figures for Australia, nor indeed other Western countries.

        As for the overall number of deaths, even 100 preventable deaths in a country the size of Australia IS significant, even if you try to avoid the issue. By the way, the quote you give at the end does not represent the views of either Chapman or the committee. It is simply Chapman suggesting a kind of hostile question the Committee might expect to receive from the media.

      • Rollo

        Chapman raised concerns about the credibility of the report because he knew that the numbers generated by it wouldn’t be sufficient to enable smoking bans ,which is why he is afraid the questions from the journalists and which is why the final report had to be ‘enhanced’.

        Is that what the proper professional reports include,an implicit increase of 5000%? The more or less conclusive finding is a 5000% discrepancy? Are you kidding me?

        If the committee wasn’t so confident about the figures of the report,why they didn’t report only on these? why did they have to increase the credibility of the report with the reference on underestimates and the international experience?

        If a discrepancy of more or less of 5000% discrepancy is a standard ,show me some other cases please.Because logically it doesn’t make ANY SENSE!

        No wonder epidemiology is called junk science

  26. Rollo Tommasi says:

    Junican – Of course Chapman realised that his committee might receive some uncomfortable questioning from the press. I’m not denying that. But that is very different from accusing him of trying to deceive or to obfuscate. He is perfectly entitled to argue that the context in which his committee’s report sat needed to be made clear, which is what he was saying there. If he was trying to deceive or obfuscate, he would have argued that the actual results of the study should be hidden – which he clearly did NOT do.

    So not even your accusation goes anywhere near supporting Dave Atherton’s claim of Chapman “trying to lie and manipulate the press” in this fax.

    In fact, looking through this thread, nobody – least of all Dave Atherton himself – has provided any supporting substance for his accusation.

  27. Gary K. says:

    Rollo said:
    Thanks for confirming your arguments are baseless, Gary.

    If you could have justified them, you would have.

    Dear Rollo,
    You have proved my statements are true!!
    If you could have shown them to be false, you would have.

    Even you should know that there are about 157,000 lung cancer deaths every year in the USA.
    Even you should know there are about 46 million current smoker adults in the USA.
    Even you should know that anti-smokers claim that current smokers are 23 times as likely to die from lung cancer as are never-smokers.
    Even you should know that lung cancer is a rare diease and that the never-smoker lung cancer death rate per year(USA) is about 2/10,000.

    This data is common knowledge to the other posters on this thread, do you claim to be ignorant of these facts??????

  28. Dr Who says:

    Rollo Tommasi = The secretive voicepiece of Tobacco Control in Scotland and the UK.

    A paid official of government, a member of a Tobacco Control Alliance or one of the fake charities?

    Who knows?

  29. Rollo Tommasi says:

    Gary K: You are an American posting on a UK thread. I suppose I should be honoured that you assume I would know the correct figures for the number of lung cancer deaths and smokers in the USA. But I don’t know these, nor should I.

    Even so, I have discovered is that there is a BIG discrepancy between your claims about the added risk to non-smokers and what the CDC says.

    You claim: “current smokers are 23 times as likely to die from lung cancer as are never-smokers”.
    CDC states: “People who smoke are 10 to 20 times more likely to get lung cancer or die from lung cancer than people who do not smoke.” (Look – I’m even giving you the source: http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/fact_sheets/health_effects/tobacco_related_mortality/index.htm#cigs)

    Your exaggeration there is in itself enough to explain how you arrived at an exaggerated total number of deaths.

    So it looks like I’ve got good reason not to believe the figures you throw around without any supporting references.

    • Gary K. says:

      Rollo,
      I do not make the claim about the 23 times, I said you antis make that claim.

      As for the 10-20 times, let’s split the difference and say 15 times.
      You are claiming that smokers die from lung cancer at a 30/10,000 rate.

      That would make smokers having 138,000 lung cancer deaths per year out the the total of 157,000,

      That does not leave much room for the ex-smoker/never-smoker lung cancer deaths.

      That sort of data is nonsense.

      • Rollo Tommasi says:

        Gary K – Thank you for making my point. You claim figures are quoted by “antis”. But all we have is your word for it.

        What I showed you was how you were wrong to say “antis” talked about 23 times, when CDC refers to a 10-20 times figure. You exaggerated your claim by a potentially massive degree (50% more than the 15 times mid-point).

        That one example shows how all your claims must be treated as nonsense, unless you can properly back up your feeble claims with references.

  30. Rollo Tommasi says:

    Dimi: To repeat points you’ve chosen to ignore:

    1. Why did the Committee choose to include reference to other studies? Because that is the norm for proper professional reports!

    2. Whatever the discrepancy between the lowest and highest figures for premature deaths attributable to passive smoking, ALL the numbers in the range represent an unacceptably high number of premature and preventable deaths. You spout about the 103 deaths figure as if that were an acceptable number, not worth worrying and fussing about.

  31. I didn’t ignore anything Rollo , you don’t seem to understand how the whole situation works despite all the info I have provided from the committee itself

    They felt they weren’t credible enough with those numbers.

    1) Against the rest of the TC movement
    2) Against the journalists and therefore against the public

    Even if you & I believe whatever we want to believe , the notion that ETS is a killer wouldn’t be achievable with those numbers!!!Professor Chapman worries about the credibility of the whole report arising from the calculations!!!!!

    Again,read the fax for yourself for the credibility element

    Ofcourse it is the norm to include other references.But look how they presented it.They didn’t say ‘ we calculated 103 deaths, americans have calculated 4247 deaths we propose smoking bans ‘ .Instead they said ‘ we calculated 103 deaths, we underestimated those figures because: of an omission of our own and because americans have calculated 4247 deaths and that’s why we propose smoking bans’ and this further enhanced from the fact even Chapman on the fax assumes that ‘ if Wells is right ,our figure should have been 4247”

    Now if a journalist was asking,hold on , you have calculated only 100 deaths , the committee would have responded : yes , but we didn’t include something and look at the analogy with the americans

    And again I am asking you If we look on the hypothetical scenario that the committee had calculated 4 million deaths from ETS, what would they do,present the figure on the report as overestimated in comparison to the american calculation or emphasize the report as it is?

    I believe they would have presented the report as it is,because they get to achieve their goal i.e promote smoking bans,something that the real report didn’t achieve had they presented it properly

    And again , if you have similar examples where 5000% discrepancy is acceptable and produces same recommendations on epidimiological studies , let me know.Otherwise we can say that ‘there is something rotten in the kingdom of Denmark’…..

  32. Dr Who says:

    Who the hell is Rollo?

  33. Iro Cyr says:

    According to Rollo, 103 deaths suspected to have been caused by SHS in Australia is a public health problem eh? So how many of these deaths apply to the hospitality industry for which smoking bans were pushed by Chapman & Al ? 1%, 2%, 5% at the most? I don’t know how many people work in the hospitality industry in Australia but I can’t see it being more than 5% of the population. 5% of 103 = 5 computer generated estimated statistical deaths suspected to have been caused by SHS in workers in the hospitality industry as a whole. This would include venues that might have already been non-smoking, as well as hotels, office employees, maintenance employees. As well, did the statistics consider whether they were ex-smokers, were closet smokers, were they part-time or full time employees, were they working in the kitchen frying food, were they living near a highway, did they ever work with asbestos, did they live in a radon laden home? Australia must have too much tax payer money to spend to declare this a public health problem!!! Surely, there must be more than 5 people a year unexpectedly dying sitting on their couch watching TV, that they should be worrying about!

    And Rollo, if you want to be pedantic, David never accused Chapman of lying, only TRYING to lie and manipulate. Pedantry for pedantry it’s not quite the same now is it?

    • Pat Nurse says:

      Indeed – and demonstrated by Chapman’s response – and his encouragement that the state treat smokers as second class citizens not worthy of homes, jobs or health services through the “Denormalisation” program – it is clear that his motives are not driven by health but hate of a particular lifestyle group with whom he disagrees.

      • Iro Cyr says:

        And let’s not forget that people uncovering the shenanigans and lies of the tobacco control industry and exposing them, are clowns in his eyes ! This is how much respect he has for people who are probably paying at least a part of his salary.

  34. Rollo Tommasi says:

    A most illuminating couple of posts by Iro Cyr.

    First of all, attempting to pretend that the numbers of deaths caused by passive smoking are as small as possible. Never mind what the facts are, just assume they are as small as possible. Then trying to tell the world that these deaths are a price worth paying just so she and her pro-smoking zealot friends can light up wherever they want.

    Then secondly, desperately attempting to defend Dave Atherton’s callous accusation. Apparently, in Iro’s world, there is a world of difference between accusations of “lying” and “trying to lie”. That really is a pedantic distinction for Iro to be trying to make. And none what she says even begins to justify why Dave made such a strong accusation against Simon Chapman, which was both wrong and made after reading only the first page of a fax.

    And finally, despite not being able to justify Dave’s accusations, she (and Pat) resorts instead to changing the subject by throwing other baseless accusations at Simon Chapman.

    What a lovely person Iro Cyr must be.

    • Fredrik Eich says:

      “pro-smoking zealot friends can light up wherever they want.” – Rollo.
      I know of no pro smoking group that believes people should be able to smoke where ever they want. We just want to have our own pubs and restaurants
      just like the non-smoking majority have theirs. Anyone should be free to open a smoke-free pub or restaurant if they want. If the state were to interfere
      with this by for example ordering a publican to put ash trays on tables when he wanted his pub to be smoke-free and <a href="http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1257023/Pub-landlord-thanks-donors-helping-early-prison-release-flouting-smoking-ban.html"locking them up in prison in relation to this offense , this would mean that pro-smoking zealotry had really
      got out of hand and would be very scary world. It really is scary to think that there are people out there that think that this sort of thing is ok. No, it is not ok , anyone should be able to open a restaurant and decide whether they put ash trays out or not. I would never support a ban on smoke-free areas in pubs and restaurants this would be an assault on the rights of non-smokers and would be wrong.

    • Pat Nurse says:

      I don’t know of pro-smoking groups. I know of groups that ask for smokers to be left alone and not harrassed by the likes of Chapman who does incite hate and fear. Not O/T Rollo but an accusation levelled at Chapman because of his own derogatory use of words. Really, I would expect better than “clowns” from an alleged professional when describing those people he pretends to care about. It’s not about health and you know it.

    • harleyrider1978 says:

      Lung Cancer a Different Disease in Smokers and Nonsmokers

      PHILADELPHIA — Lung cancer that develops in smokers is not the same disease as lung cancer that develops in people who’ve never touched a cigarette, a new study finds.

      There are nearly twice as many DNA changes in the tumors of people who have never smoked than in the tumors of people who smoke, which suggests the cancer of “never-smokers” is different from smokers’ cancer, said Kelsie Thu, a Ph.D. candidate at the BC Cancer Research Center in Canada.

      “We think this finding provides evidence that never-smoker and smoker lung cancers are different, and suggests they arise through different molecular pathways,” Thu told MyHealthNewsDaily. “Never-smokers might be exposed to a carcinogen, not from cigarettes, that causes their tumors to have more DNA alterations and promotes lung cancer development.”

      http://www.livescience.com/11090-lung-cancer-disease-smokers-nonsmokers.html

  35. Jonathan Bagley says:

    Dave, almost everyone who has posted comments here either writes under their own name, or their identity is common knowledge. How about banning anonymous comments?

    • daveatherton says:

      Hi Jonathan I hope you are well. That is a tricky one as Rollo could just change his name to John Smith etc and we would never know. However I have considerable sympathy that people should have the integrity to post in their real names, thus avoiding any conflict of interests.

      For the record I believe Rollo is an employee of ASH Scotland. It is not based on solid facts and I only have the thinnest of circumstantial evidence. Firstly he does live in the Edinburgh area, based on his IP address. I have noticed that at the start of his involvement he was left floundering on the facts, it appears he has had training.

      It would seem logical that as ASH get a good pasting on line they would try and train someone up to fight us on the web.

      Rollo is quite welcome to post but it would be nice if he came clean.

      • Dave/Jonathan
        As I work for ASH Scotland I can hopefully clarify for you that: 1) I’m not Rollo Tomasi (though I do like L.A. Confidential); 2) none of my colleagues have, as far as I’m aware, ever used that alias; and 3) if there’s been an effort within my workplace to train people up to ‘fight you on the web’ then it’s been exceptional well hidden from me.

        I wouldn’t think it would be logical for us to employ somebody to use an online pseudonym for the express purpose of disagreeing with you or others here or anywhere else. What would be the benefit?

        As you’ve described your blog in an email to us previously as comments being ‘vigorously encouraged’, I would have thought you’d welcome dissenting opinion from everybody, even those who chose to use a pseudonym online (which people could have a whole variety of reasons for doing).

        Though of course, if I *was* Rollo Tomasi, this would be exactly the kind of thing I would write…

  36. Gary K. says:

    Dear Rollo said:
    “Gary K – Thank you for making my point. You claim figures are quoted by “antis”. But all we have is your word for it.

    What I showed you was how you were wrong to say “antis” talked about 23 times, when CDC refers to a 10-20 times figure.”

    Gosh Rollo, the CDC is an anti-smoker group and their,could be, 20 times is rather close to 23 times.

    Chapman says their figures are apt to be under-estimated; because, they did not include deaths to ex-smokers from exposure to SHS.

    Does that mean that, if a smoker dies from a ‘smoking related’ disease, the exposure to the SHS from the cigarettes they have smoked ’caused’ their death?

  37. Ann W. says:

    “For the record I believe Rollo is an employee of ASH Scotland. It is not based on solid facts and I only have the thinnest of circumstantial evidence. ”

    Dave, if you haven’t read it, CAGE Canada did a nice write up on a manual that describes the deceitful tactics that the anti smoker groups should use on the internet.

    “INSIDE THE TOBACCO CONTROL INDUSTRY AND THEIR DECEITFUL TACTICS”
    http://cagecanada.blogspot.com/2011/02/inside-tobacco-control-industry-and.html
    …..write (or sign ghost written) letters to the editor, etc. (pages 31 & 33)

    …..submit at least two letters to the editor each month during the campaign, under the names of different authors”. (page 33)

    …….Nothing can ruin a campaign faster than public disclosure of financial wrongdoing (intentional or unintentional) ? something your opponents would love to expose if given the opportunity. (page 34)

  38. Ann W. says:

    p.s. I don’t use my last name in postings, not as brave as some of you, but I do use a properly registered email that can be traced back to who I really am.

    Ann Welch

  39. Junican says:

    I am a bit confused about these 103 deaths. Were these the deaths of 103 actual, real people or not? Or is it an estimate based upon 1000 times 1 thousandth (or whatever statistical likelihood there might be) of a person times 103? Is there any actual identification of the 103 deaths – not necessarily by name and address, but possibly ‘case 1’, ‘case 2, etc? And is their any certainty that SHS was responsible for whatever condition they suffered from? And WHY WERE MILLIONS OF PEOPLE WHO WERE ALSO EXPOSED TO SHS NOT EFFECTED SIGNIFICANTLY, INCLUDING MILLIONS OF CHILDREN?

    • Gary K. says:

      Junicam,
      Chapman used a RR=1.26 to arrive at those deaths.
      “”These tables show that based on a RR=1.26, there are 9.63 cases of lung cancer and 93.46 from IHD – a total of 103 deaths a year.”

      The usual standard is for those numbers to be per 100,000 people.
      At most, only 20% of those deaths are actually ‘claimed’ to be caused by SHS exposure.

      RR 1.26 shows that there is an 80% probability that each of those deaths was caused by some other factor.

      Reference Guide on Epidemiology, Michael D. Green, D. Mical Freedman & Leon Gordis
      http://www.fjc.gov/public/pdf.nsf/lookup/sciman06.pdf/$file/sciman06.pdf
      Page 384
      When the relative risk reaches 2.0, the agent is responsible for an equal number
      of cases of disease as all other background causes.

      Thus, a relative risk of 2.0 implies a 50% likelihood that an exposed individual’s disease was caused by the agent.
      (NOTE: That means an RR=2 implies a 50% likelihood the disease was NOT caused by the agent!!-GK)
      …………………………………………….
      An RR of 1.25 implies that there is an 80% probability the disease was caused by other background causes and only a 20% chance it was caused by the agent.(1 is 4/5’s[80%] of 1.25)

      If the 93.46 IHD’s were 25% higher than some other number, that number would be saying that never-smoker Australians suffer 373.84/100,000 heart attack deaths per year.
      But:
      http://www.worldlifeexpectancy.com/cause-of-death/coronary-heart-disease/by-country/

      Coronary Heart Disease(death rate)
      #162 Australia…………..60.3/100,000

  40. Iro Cyr says:

    Well Rollo,
    Whether you think I am a good or bad person is quite indifferent to me. The main thing is that I myself can live with my conscience and go to bed at night knowing that I am doing my utmost helping expose the lies that have led to sick, old, psychiatric patients being tortured by the twisted conscience of alleged ”do-gooders” who believe in the quit or suffer/die anti-smoker philosophy. I sleep well at night knowing that I am doing my utmost to help protect all citizens for their property rights, association rights, the right to honest science and the right to see their taxes used wisely . That means a lot more to me than worrying about what an anonymous anti-smoker troll thinks the definition of a public health problem is.

    • Pat Nurse says:

      I’ve found people who hate smokers tend to resort to attacks on a smoker’s character or their personal appearance when they lose the debate on a forum like this or they just rely on name calling such as “clowns”. And they claim hate has nothing to do with it. I’m not convinced. It’s certainly not about health as Mr Chapman’s response reveals.

  41. Shyster Alert says:

    Ahhh! Rollo the Mass Debater has returned. Concerning indoor smoking bans, the Mass Debater used to make numerous appearances on blogs claiming “What’s the big deal. You just have to go outside to smoke”. But, alas, the next phase of smoker/smoking “denormalization” is banning smoking outdoors too. So the poor Mass Debater lost the [pathetic] “just go outside” argument.

    But, undeterred, the Mass Debater, the Tobacco Control “minder”, makes a reappearance, this time to defend the [non-existent] honor and reputation of the first-class clown/shyster, Simple Simon Chapman. Hey, Rollo, take a look at the comments on the previous thread for some background on the voluminous shenanigans and deception of the Simple One. And, Rollo, you’re of the same deranged, fanatical mentality.

    The time for trying to reason with you pompous, self-absorbed, neurotic, bigoted buffoons is long over.

  42. @Rory

    Thanks for taking the trouble to reply, and with your real name and photo. To be fair I did say it was the thinnest of circumstantial evidence. I really do encourage dissent and want a polite and intellectually vigorous debate, which frankly the anti smoker movement want to deny me. My blog is entirely unmoderated, any delays are because someone has posted 3 or more URLs and is flagged up as potential spam.

    Examples are ASH England blocked me from posting comments on their Facebook page, Simon Williams the Lib Dem MP and Chairman of the All Party Group on Smoking and Health where ASH are the “Secretariat” have denied me the right to offer evidence. I tried to post on Professor Stanton Glantz blog, as of yet my comments are to appear. (Washington) DC Smoke Free also censored my comments. The double standards are glaring.

    I will however take this opportunity to apologise to Rollo for questioning his background. I presume he may well have a relative or loved one who may have suffered from a smoking related disease.

    On the 28th June of this year I posted this “Editor-in-Chief of Lifestyle Reviews Rollo Tomassi has been mentioning the late Konrad Jamrozik’s paper on “Estimate of deaths attributable to passive smoking among UK adults: database analysis.” So I have acted on his suggestions as to what goes in my blog.

    Rory if you like ASH Scotland can have the freedom of my blog and post an unedited and unmoderated piece of your choice, on any subject.

    Notwithstanding my offer which will stand whatever the circumstances, I would like ASH Scotland, Wales and England to have a public debate on the science of passive smoking. Witnesses, cross examination recorded for the public and media. I fear my request may well be declined.

    https://daveatherton.wordpress.com/2011/06/28/professor-konrad-jamrozik-and-his-bmj-paper-on-his-estimate-of-deaths-in-the-uk-from-passive-smoking/

  43. Pingback: Rollo, ASH Scotland and freedom of speech | LifestyleReviews

  44. Iro Cyr says:

    David,
    I have extended the same invitation to Rory following the closure of the Stirling University FOI facebook group. Unfortunately he never took me up on my offer. If the science rests on the solid grounds they believe and say it is, why are they consistently avoiding a real debate? We can even make it fair and appoint an equal number of posters on either side so noone’s overwhelmed by an unequal number of opponents. It does get overwhelming when there are 10 posters demanding answers from 2.

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