A Survey: “Smoking Bans do not Cause Increase in Smoking at Home”

It is hard to imagine a more inept survey.

Start at the beginning. This survey was conducted by the German Cancer Research Centre. Fine….but an article appeared in ‘Wales Online.co.uk’ applying this survey specifically to Wales. I suppose the reason for applying it to Wales was that Wales was one of the countries used in the survey as part of the UK. Here is the URL for that article:

http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/2012/02/13/public-smoking-ban-leads-to-no-increase-in-home-smoking-survey-finds-91466-30323098/

The German Cancer Research Centre used surveys concocted by ‘The International Tobacco Control Policy Evaluation Project Europe Surveys’. I wonder who funds them? It was published in the journal ‘Tobacco Control’. It seems that this ‘International bla bla’ conducted surveys about ‘home smoking bans’ before bans were introduced and then some time afterwards. 
I googled the ‘International bla bla’ and found the study. Here is the URL:

http://tobaccocontrol.bmj.com/content/early/2012/01/20/tobaccocontrol-2011-050131.abstract

(NB. You can only see the abstract. If you want the whole study, you have to pay)

I have only just found it, and therefore haven’t the time right now to pursue it, but there are certain things that jump out right away.

Read this from the Wales Online article:

More than 4,600 smokers in the four European countries took part in the study and more than 1,000 in the UK, which served as a comparison when no smoking ban had come into force.”

Also, the  ‘International bla bla’ says’:

Design Two waves of the International Tobacco Control Policy Evaluation Project Europe Surveys, which is a prospective panel study. Pre- and post-legislation data were used from Ireland, France, Germany and the Netherlands. Two pre-legislation waves from the UK were used as control.

“These were carried out before and after legislation banning smoking in public places came into force in Ireland, France, Germany and the Netherlands, and in the UK, excluding Scotland, before legislation was enacted.”

Carried out ‘before and AFTER legislation in Germany, and the UK? Oh….sorry…..before legislation was enacted (in the UK).

So the article tries very hard to obscure the fact that no post-ban survey was conducted in Wales (and England). But look at this statement from the article:

“In the UK, the percentage of smokers who imposed a home smoking ban also rose by 22% between the two surveys.”
 
Where did that come from? Both the article and the ‘International bla bla’ said that the UK was ONLY used as a pre-ban control! What is going on?
But, the clear chicanery of these statements apart (obviously written by ASH ET AL speech writer – whoever it is, is brilliant!), there is an obvious flaw. All the bans in the European countries were different. Thus, the researchers were not comparing like with like.
 
But we can go further, lots further. How did the researchers confirm that the respondents were smokers? How was it done? How many people were flitting around Europe from country to country finding confirmed smokers to interview? How did they avoid bias and other confounders? The fact is that the didn’t. Look at this from the Abstract of the study:
 
Methods Multiple logistic regression models to identify predictors of having or of adopting a total HSB [Home smoking bans], and Generalised Estimating Equation models to compare patterns of change after implementation of smoke-free legislation to a control country without such legislation.
 
So they took 4600 people from four European countries with a combined population of hundreds o millions and somehow found that they were all confirmed smokers, and, using computer models, arrived at percentages of increased ‘home smoking bans’! Damned clever, these researchers.
 
To top it all, Tobacco Control then assumed that the results applied to Wales in their entirety.
 
Finally, I quote from the article:
 
 “In 2011, 51% of Welsh adults told us that smoking is not allowed in their homes which is encouraging news, but we need to get more parents to outlaw smoking in their homes.”
 
Who are WE!!!! Another totally false construct from ASH ET AL, acting as judge, jury and hangman.
 

 

 
 
 
 
 
  
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