How the California EPA Manages an Unwelcome Result: State the Reverse of the Result

A 1998 study by Boffetta et al produced what most people would regard as a surprising result: nonsmokers were less likely to develop lung cancer if they had been exposed in childhood to passive smoking (PS): (WHO)

In 2005 the California Environmental Protection Agency decided to revise an earlier report on PS and health. It might be thought that the Boffetta results would be a problem for the Agency in their effort to prove that PS causes lung cancer.Not at all. They grasped the nettle firmly and wrote: "In summary, the majority of individual studies reported null or slightly elevated, but nonsignificant, risk estimates for “ever” exposure to ETS during childhood, including the large pooled European study (Boffetta et al., 1998)." (CalEPA) If the results are not what was hoped for - indeed the contrary - simply reverse them. So Boffetta found that PS prevents lung cancer. So what. Tell the public Boffetta found the reverse, that PS causes lung cancer.

Such debasement of science is the bread and butter of the antismoking movement.

Installed 16 May 2007