World Health Organization results: Passive Smoking in Childhood Prevents Lung Cancer
This study, conducted for WHO, the largest yet case-control study of PS and lung cancer, showed that children exposed to PS were 22% less likely to develop lung cancer than those who were not so exposed. (WHO1).
The odds ratio was 0.78, with 95% confidence interval 0.64- 0.96 .A very similar result had earlier been obtained by Brownson et al (http://members.iinet.com.au/~ray/b.html)
This clear, statistically significant result, is then contradicted by the author's false words " CONCLUSIONS: Our results indicate no association between childhood exposure to ETS[PS] and lung cancer risk." This statement is more than simply untrue. I do not believe that 27 co-authors can have failed to notice that their statement is contradicted by their results. It is a lie, a reversal of the truth, a calculated deception of the reader.
This abuse of science is compounded by the press release issued by WHO(WHO2). This presents only the non-significant results for workplace and spousal exposure. The significant protective effect of childhood exposure is not mentioned.
Such arrogant deception of the public by health officials is regrettably all too common. People have told me in the past that they expect public servants to tell us lies. I do not. I expect them to tell us the truth.
The response of other scientists to this work has been extraordinary. Such a large and protracted study and one which was conducted for so prestigious a body as WHO could not be ignored. And so it appears in the reference lists of about forty other papers. (See the list at the end of the paper.) The non-significant spousal and workplace exposures are mostly treated as if they were significant, a statistical solecism which has wrongly become acceptable practice. But the response to the childhood exposure is more troublesome. A definitive trial which should have shown that childhood exposure to passive smoking increases the risk of lung cancer has shown the opposite: children exposed to passive smoking are less likely to later develop lung cancer than those not so exposed.. This problem is is resolved by a simple expedient: quote the paper, don't mention the result. It could have been taken from Fawlty Towers: "Don't mention the children". And they don't.
Installed 29 April 2007