Twisting Statistics

In a comment to the last post, castello2 provided this link:

https://www.e-cigarette-forum.com/forum/threads/dhhs-funded-moffitt-cancer-center-survey-found-79-of-vapers-quit-smoking-but.725563/

Moffitt Cancer Center (USA I presume) received $3.6 million to conduct a survey about gender differences among vapers. What important matters hung on those gender differences, I do not know, but you would think that there would be some important matter if the survey was worth expending so much money on.

Moffitt surveyed on-line 1815 adult vapers who were or had been daily smokers for at least one year. The cost of the survey per vaper was $1983.47… Seems an awful lot of money to conduct an on-line survey. Maybe it took a full-time operative on full pay a long time to find 1815 respondents.

Anyway, the point is that the authors reported what they found about gender differences in ecig use. What they said nothing about, but buried deep in the research detail, was that 79% of the respondents had totally given up smoking. 79%!!

Castello2 provided links to the study which I have not read. I suppose that I should have read them, but there are a lot of links and my interest in ecigs is only incidental to my main interest, which is the persecution of smokers.

To some extent in this case (apart from the rediculous cost), I have some sympathy for the authors. I can imagine the survey asking questions about how often a person vapes, and all that sort of stuff, but the participants would not have know that the survey was concerned with gender differences. There may have been problems in getting reasonably equal numbers of male and female participants, and it is not at all unlikely that the respondents were people who had indeed given up smoking altogether for the most part.

The interesting thing, I suppose, is how the researchers got there respondents. There again, if they used visitors to vape shops, why did the survey cost so much? Oh, hang on, the survey was an on-line survey. How did they invite participants? Was it via some organisation like YouGov? I should imagine that it was. I should imagine that the form of words would be something like this:

“You are invited to take part in a survey concerning e-cigarettes. The results of the survey will inform our principles, the DHHS, about the value of ecigs to participants. The survey is estimated to take around ten minutes to complete”

All very reasonable, but such an invitations is more likely to attract vapers who have stopped smoking than those who vape but have not. It most certainly would not attract people who have tried a ecig and have decided that they do not want to know.

So I see how the authors would not regard the results as indicative of the success of ecigs in respect of stopping smoking. Almost certainly, participants would be convinced vapers. That is, invitees were not smokers – they were vapers.

Having said that, you would have thought that successful quiting by gender would have been moot, even though only in comparison. EG, say, 80% male quitting compared with, say, 70% female quiting, or vice versa.

Thus, what castello2 has shown to us is that statistics can be used selectively. What is left out is just as important as what is included. That is how false impressions are created.

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Years ago, Tobacco Companies decided not to contest the health effects of smoking. They gave up the struggle and surrendered the health effects territory to the Tobacco Control Industry. That is a pity. I wonder what would have happened if, instead of contesting plain packaging on the grounds of intellectual property, they had contested it on the grounds that the medical porn pics were unrealistic and unproven. That is, in matters of health, TRUTH is an absolute requirement.

There is a good reason for precise TRUTH as regards Health. It is that the National Health Service is FREE to any individual. Why is it FREE? It is because the NHS is based upon common humanity. It is based upon the idea that human beings do not step over the body of someone who has collapsed in the street. Animals would step over such bodies (with the possible exception of elephants), but not because they are cruel. It is because they have no equivalent to human empathy. Even elephants have no idea what to do when one of their ‘elders’ collapses and dies. Of course they have no idea what to do, since they cannot think.

There is only one RATIONAL species on this planet and that is mankind.

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Twisting Statistics means extracting what is good for you and ignoring what is bad. I saw that advert for Nicorette again tonight. What I said yesterday was correct, but I still cannot remember the exact words! “If you use nicorette, you are 100% more likely” is accurate. “Than if you don’t use nicorette” – I don’t know. Readers will be aware that these adverts just flash up on the TV screen. Twisting Statistics is equivalent to Relative Risks. If, out of a group of people (a ‘population’) of 1oo, ooo, only 10 non-smokers get LC whereas 200 smokers get LC, the likelihood of correlation with LC and smoking depends upon the percentage of the population who smoke.

But even that percentage algorithm is wide, wide of the mark. We puff on a cig from time to time; we breath industrial and smog polluted air with every breath we take. The problem with Doll’s Doctors Study was that it was GENERALISED. It was as though all the doctors in the survey were perfect copies of each other.

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I shall have to look at the Reports that Doll produced on the Doctors Study again. There is something extremely weird about it. That weirdness is the number of doctors, whether smokers or not, who died around the age of 60.

It sort of reminds me of my mother. She did not smoke and drank very little alcohol. And yet, around the age of 65, her body began to get bent and twisted. During her last few years, she was bent over. She could not straighten up her body. She was inclined at an angle of some 45 degrees from her waist upwards.

No one asked WHY. She died at the age of 71, small and wizened. She did not smoke or drink, for all intents, nor was she obese. Why did she die so young and deformed?

Could Tobacco Control answer that question?

The people we elect to Parliament have no idea what they are elected for. They do not understand that they are not THE GOVERNMENT. Cameron was, apparently, a ‘shining star in the firmament’, but that ‘shining star’ is falling to earth. No wonder that he is resigning his seat. He was a shining example of a charlatan.

Will Theresa May be a Principled PM? I would rather have a PM who understood that ‘The People’ want to be free to enjoy their lives as they see fit than to be cajoled, punished and persecuted.

 

4 Responses to “Twisting Statistics”

  1. castello2 Says:

    Vapers and smokers have the same enemies. I was trying to show their limitless corruption along with showing how effective vaping is. I understand how frustrating it is to be persecuted as a smoker of 40 years myself. We weren’t very successful at all in stopping smoking bans as smokers. Vaping is making serious progress proving all “Tobacco Control Science” is BS and not about health at all.

    • junican Says:

      Gosh, Castello, I hope that you did not think that I was critical of what you said. No – I was pondering about the limitations of studies. In the case that you cited, the limitations seemed reasonable. In how many other studies are the limitations disregarded in favour of headlines?

  2. nisakiman Says:

    Blimey! $3.6 million for a survey? Nice work if you can get it! Talk about the TC gravy train – that’s a prime example of why smokers are under so much pressure. Who wouldn’t join the smoker-persecutors for that kind of money?

    As far as vaping being ‘effective’, it’s only effective because vaping offers a potential escape from persecution. If we lived in a world dominated by common sense, where smokers were warned of possible risks of smoking but were otherwise left to their own devices, and not taxed to oblivion, nor excommunicated, I think the popularity of vaping would be very much less than it is.

    • junican Says:

      I don’t see a problem, Nisak. Vaping is an alternative to smoking in some circumstances. For some people, it is a full alternative, such as those people who do not want to pay exhorbitant prices and are quite happy with their ecigs. They substituted because of costs. It had nothing to do with health.
      Others substituted to get around pub bans, but it is likely that they only use their ecigs in pubs etc – they probably smoke at home. They too also save a bit of money thereby.
      Others believe the crap propaganda, and have quit smoking using ecigs.
      I don’t believe for a minute that the survey Castello referred to has any value whatsoever. Why? Because people convince themselves that their motives were altruistic. Few would admit that the took up ecigs because ecigs are far cheaper than tobacco products.
      But I also see those reasons as perfectly valid for every individual. It is their decision.

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