World Health Organization, Saving The World But Not Too Good At Math
W. Hamilton

Date of original release: 5/19/99

WHO's 1997 World Health Report stated that there were approximately 3 million tobacco-related deaths worldwide (just under 6% of the estimated 52 million total deaths worldwide).

A mere two years later, WHO's 1999 World Health Report states that there were 4 million tobacco-related deaths worldwide (or 3.5 million if you go by the AP's news story on the Report rather than Reuters'). Wow! That's a whopping increase of 33% more dead smokers in only two years.

But even such a statistically estimated leap as that apparently wasn't deemed impressive enough to scare the bejesus out of people (or scare the money out of funders) because the 1999 WHO report went on to say that in 20 years that estimated figure would jump to TEN MILLION smoking-related deaths--an astounding 250% increase in the number of dead smokers only 20 years!

In the report, WHO predicted the increase in dead smokers based on WHO's own prediction that the total number of smokers in the world would rise from WHO's current estimate of 1 billion smokers to WHO's projected estimate of 1.6 billion smokers by 2020. A prediction based on a prediction based on an estimate and a projected estimate.

But wait! 1.6 billion isn't two and a half times more than 1 billion. Oh, well, who's counting? Were talking statistically projected LIVES here, folks!

At any rate, even the 10 million dead smokers by 2020 apparently isn't impressive enough for the WHO propaganda machine, because they sliced and diced the numbers to come up with: "Based on current trends, around 250 million children currently alive will eventually be killed by tobacco," (this from yet another WHO report released in Oct., 1998 and covered in the Nando Times, "Smoking set to become world's leading killer, study predicts," 10/20/98).

Three million in the 1997 report, growing to 4 million in the 1999 report, growing to 10 million deaths, growing to 250 million CHILDREN dying from tobacco .

Apparently Hillary Rodham Clinton was impressed because she recorded a message to be released with the WHO 1999 World Health Report: "We cannot rest when so many global health threats face us today. We cannot rest while the death grip of big tobacco is cutting short the lives of so many children," ("U.N. Agency Ups Malaria, Tobacco Campaigns," Stephanie Nebehay, Reuters, 5/11/99).

And this is how the anti-tobacco propaganda machine works--slice and dice to get ever-increasing numbers and preferably work the kids in there somewhere. It doesn't add up scientifically or mathematically, but it makes for good PR and good politics.

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