A History of Anti-Smoking
December 1, 2008 Leave a comment
17.02.06: STOPIT (STudy Of Public place Intervention on Tobacco exposure) announce the decision to conduct a study designed to “test the hypothesis raised by the Montana study that a reduction in ETS [Environmental Tobacco Exposure] exposure is accompanied by a rapid reduction in the incidence of acute coronary syndrome (ACS).” The study is to be led by Dr Jill Pell.
10.9.07: Dr Pell and her team announce their findings at a conference in Edinburgh. The Scottish government marks the occasion by issuing a press release titled ‘Smoking ban brings positive results’ saying: “A study of nine Scottish hospitals has found a 17 per cent fall in admissions for heart attacks in the first year after the smoking ban came into force.”
11.9.07: International media, including The Times, The Guardian and The Daily Mail report the news that, as the latter put it:
“Further dramatic evidence emerged last night to show that banning smoking in public reduces the rate of heart attacks. Hospital admissions for heart attacks dropped by 17 per cent in the year after the legislation was introduced in Scotland. If the pattern is repeated throughout the UK, there would be almost 40,000 fewer heart attacks a year.”
14.11.07: The BBC publish an article (online) titled ‘When the facts get in the way of a good story’. The author noted that data from ISD Scotland showed that the real drop in heart attacks was just 8%. He added: “What appeared to be hard medical evidence now looks more like over-hasty and over-confident research, coupled with wishful political thinking and uncritical journalism.”
22.12.07: The Times includes the study in its list of ‘The worst junk stats of 2007’.
30.7.08: On the eve of the study’s publication, the international media report the findings again. USA Today writes: “Scotland’s smoking ban appears to have prevented hundreds of heart attacks in its first year, a study shows. The number of people admitted to the hospital for heart attacks fell by 17% in the year after Scotland’s smoking ban took effect in March 2006.”
Tom Glynn of the American Cancer Society calls the study “virtually flawless’.
31.7.08: The study is finally published in the respected New England Journal of Medicine titled ‘Smoke-free Legislation and Hospitalizations for Acute Coronary Syndrome’.
19.09.08: Velvet Glove author obtains additional hospital data under the Freedom of Information Act. Provisional data suggests that acute coronary syndrome admissions fell by 9.3% in the 12 months following the ban.
25.11.08: Scottish government quietly releases final figures for hospital admissions since the smoke-free legislation. Acute coronary syndrome admissions fell by just 7.2% in year one – in line with the long-term downward trend – before rising by 7.8% in year two.
These people have done a lot of work on this and it deserves a wide audience. That said, I’m putting it here so that I can still remember it in a year.
There are currently (2008/12/01-21:10) 132 comments on DK’s post on this topic – I urge you to regard them.