Scientific Evidence Portal
An Alternative Explanation for the Apparent Elevated Relative Mortality and Morbidity Risks Associated with Exposure to Environmental Tobacco Smoke | T. D. Sterling, A. Glicksman, H. Perry, D. A. Sterling, W. L. Rosenbaum, J. J. Weinkam
Article Published: 1996
Type: Articles and Dissertations
Published By: J Clin Epidemiol, Vol. 49, No. 7, pp. 803-808, 1996
Further Information Why is it said that there is more disease in the households of smokers? Why is it said that the non-smoking partners of smokers suffer more disease than the partners of non smokers?
If you listen to the propaganda, there is no doubt: active smoking “kills” and passive smoking “kills” – easy to remember and parrot, and simple: absolutely nothing to understand, in fact. It is also psychologically safe: you parrot the words of “experts” and “authorities,” and you can feel both competent and important.
Reality is different, however, and there are always many reasons why things happen. In this treatise, Theodor Sterling et. al notices and demonstrates that studies on both active and especially passive smoking do not keep into account fundamental confounders such as, for example, socio-economic and occupational status.
It is intuitive that low-income blue collar workers are exposed to far more unhealthy conditions than their better-paid white collar counterparts. There is also a greater number of smokers amongst the blue collar people, one of the reasons being that they are less sensitive to antismoking propaganda. It follows that a larger incidence of disease, logically accountable to socio-economic and occupational status – as well as a large number of other confounders – is attributed instead, by antitobacco researchers, to the smoking of the lower classes.
When pronouncing its indemonstrable and scary numbers, the antismoking propaganda does not make distinctions, and just tells us that those numbers are “caused” by smoking. Emphasis added in quote:
“Similarly, studies of reported ETS effects have generally not adjusted for socioeconomic confounders. We reviewed 34 published reports […] that investigated the association between lung cancer risk of nonsmoking women and smoking status of their husbands. This review revealed
not a single instance in which published risk estimates were adjusted for para-occupational confounding …”