The american Cancer Society and The Coalition for a Tobacco free Hawaii have refer to this study on countless occasions as proof of the necessity of Smoking Bans. This is what our legislators have been basing their approval of these bans and their reluctance to lift them on. The following "Helena Study" is easily debunked by unbiased scientific research. Pay close attention to the NY commentary near the end of this document. This page is lengthy, but far worth the investment of your time.
. http://www.helenair.com/articles/2002/09/25/stories/helena/1a2.txt Ban was not being enforced
The following document is lengthy but well worth your investment in time.
Kuddos to Michael Zehner for this information and the following links.....
Debunks the Helena study Used repeatedly by ACS and Coalition for a Tobacco Free Hawaii.
The Helena Study
"In June of 2002 a smoking ban was implemented in the town of Helena, Montana. Six months later the ban was lifted due to a judicial ruling. In April, 2003, two researchers made an astounding claim: the ban had lead to an immediate 60% drop in heart attacks. They further claimed that when the ban was lifted the number of heart attacks returned to normal levels. This study has received widespread distribution and acceptance, and has been used to"prove" that bans improve public health. But it doesn't take much digging to see that the study was a complete fraud; a shameful exercise in junk science.
Fact: In (2002) the city of Helena, Mt. passed a ban on smoking for all business. Six months later the ban was overturned by a judge, and smoking was once again allowed in public places.
Fact: In 2003 Dr. Richard P. Sargent and Dr. Robert M. Shepard announced to the press they had done a study which showed a 60% decrease in acute myocardial infarctions (heart attacks) during the period the ban was in place. Study results are usually announced when a study is published. "Science by Press Conference" is not highly regarded in the scientific community.
Fact: When the study was published in the British Medical Journal, a year later, they claimed a 40% reduction in heart attacks. Why did they give one number to the press, and an entirely different, much lower number to the BMJ? Their original PowerPoint presentation is available here (pdf). Note the 60% claim on the last page.
Fact: Sargent and Shepard enlisted the aid of Dr. Stanton Glantz (whose doctorate is in applied mechanics, not medicine or biology), an active and prominent leader of the anti-smoker movement in the US.
Fact: BMJs web site includes a "Rapid Responses" section, where respondents can comment on a study. Dr. Glantz posted there, ignoring all of the criticisms and questions that had been posted. He said their study "reported a 42% (95% CI 1% to 79%) statistically significant drop in hospital admissions for acute myocardial infarctions (AMI)"
Fact: The confidence interval cited by Glantz does not appear any where in the original study. Studies with wide confidence intervals are suspect. Studies where the CI is close to 1.0 are very suspect. (See Statistics 101 for more details.) Assuming the CI Glantz cites is accurate, one less heart attack or one misdiagnosis could have pushed the lower boundary of the CI below 1.0, which would have made the results statistically insignificant.
Fact: The researchers claimed that the isolated community, which resulted in a very small sample size, was a positive factor.
Fact: In statistical studies, large sample sizes across various populations are usually considered desirable. Fact: Compliance with SHS laws is an important factor in SHS exposure.
Fact: In the study the researchers reported, "We did not make any direct observations to measure how much exposure to secondhand smoke was reduced during the months when the law was in force. We do not know the prevalence of smoking in venues covered by ban, though the city-county health department reported that all but two businesses complied."
Fact: On April 7, 2003, Sargent and Shepard attended a meeting of the Montana Senate where they heard testimony from business owner Laura Fix that smokers were driving outside town to patronize venues that allowed smoking. The minutes from this meeting are available here.
Fact: At the same meeting Rich Miller of the Gaming Industries Association, testified that three of Helena's five casinos never complied with the ban. Fact: It was well known that some of the casinos were ignoring the ban, and many bars (at least nine according to this article) were not in compliance.
Fact Worth Repeating: Sargent and Shepard were present at the meeting where the widespread non-compliance was discussed, yet still claimed, in their study, that only two business were non-compliant. At the same meeting they learned that smokers were making the short trip out of town to smoking venues, but ignored that fact in their study.
Fact: 38% of the patients in this study were smokers, 29% were ex-smokers, and 33% were life long non-smokers. This was mentioned in the study, but was not taken into account or used to adjust the final numbers.
Fact Worth Repeating: Only a third of the patients in this study were non-smokers.
Fact: Although the study claimed to be about the effects of second hand smoke, the researchers did not interview a single patient about their SHS exposure. Not one! If they wanted accurate information, wouldn't they have interviewed as many patients as possible? There were only 40 of them.
Fact: A similar dip in heart attacks occurred in 1998. The researchers ignored this fact.
Fact: No confounders were considered, checked for, or used to adjust the results. In any legitimate statistical study, confounders must be accounted for and used to adjust the data. (See Statistics 101 for more information.) In this case, confounders would have included the patients smoking status (smoker, ex-smoker, never smoker) exposure to any conditions, substances, physical activity or environments that could cause or contribute to heart attacks, and recent changes to those exposures.
Fact: The authors of this study claimed they had no competing interests.
Fact: Richard Sargent and Robert Shepard were anti-tobacco activists before conducting this study. When asked about this Shepard said, "They can say what they like. The bottom line is, the data speaks for itself. We don't have to apologize for our particular bias." (Emphases added.)
Fact: Stanton Glantz is one of the leading anti-tobacco and anti-smoker activists in the United States. He has brought millions of dollars of anti-smoking grant money to the University of California, San Francisco, which eventually awarded him a chair as Professor of Medicine despite his lack of a medical degree. He is the founder of Americans for Non Smokers Rights, Smoke Free Movies and has personally received hundreds of thousands of dollars in grants for anti-tobacco studies. In addition, he has generated tens of millons of dollars in anti-smoking grants for his university.
Fact Which Shows Fraud: Although the researchers claimed heart attacks dropped for the six months the ban was in place, the only drop was during the first three months. For the last three months the rate returned to normal. This can be seen in their own chart.
Fact Worth Repeating: "We did not make any direct observations to measure how much exposure to secondhand smoke was reduced during the months when the law was in force."
Fact: All of the funding for this study came from anti-smoking organizations.
Fact: The American Cancer Society awarded Sargent Shephard the Ted Marrs Award, which recognizes individuals that consistently demonstrate excellence in the area of public issues. They cited the 60% claim from their original press conference, not the 40% claim made in the actual study.
The Responses to this study:
The following comments about the study were published in the BMJs Rapid Response page. (Note: Some of the original comments were quite long, and have been edited for space reasons. You can see the responses in their entirety here.)
These numbers are far too small. The study surveyed at most 40 admissions across a six month, or 26 week period. So, even an increase/decrease of one per week makes a huge impact. It is also claimed that the increase of 5.6 in outside Helena admissions was insignificant, however it is a near 50% increase. [ outskirts of Helena, but within the ban's coverage ] - Ben Hirsch, Research Assistant University of Massachusetts
The attempt to make claims about the effects of smoking bans based on this very weak ecologic study raises disturbing questions about our ability to distinguish between sound science and wishful thinking. - Geoffrey C Kabat Epidemiologist
This is, in my opinion, gross misrepresentation designed to provide maximal public impact in furthering the biased and unscientific opinions of these authors. . . This so called study does not even come close to meeting the basic criteria of a properly executed scientific study. - Henry F Mizgala Emeritus Professor of Medicine University of British Columbia
Smoke-free workplace legislation protects workers and the public from cardiac, respiratory, and cancer risks associated with second-hand smoke and facilitates cessation among smokers. However, unrealistic expectations can hinder efforts to expand smoke-free workplace laws. The 40% decline in acute myocardial infarctions (AMIs) associated with a smoke-free ordinance in Montana is neither biologically nor epidemiologically plausible. - Farzad Mostashari, MD MSPH, Assistant Commissioner NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene
*********************************************************************************************** Wow, that what the NYC DOH said about what the antis sold Waters! The KEY thing here is the study was ridiculously small, biased, and abused the data. Now lets check out the lung cancer risks to non-smokers that never smoked. Brudda IZ was morbidly obese and died young, but that was his choice. ***************************************************************************************************
http://www.epa.gov/radon/healthrisks.html - This is what it says and the CDC, antis, ect love to use these numbers. Oh yes this is what is said about the EPA study http://www.davehitt.com/facts/epa.html, but I'll give the anti-smoking groups the benefit of the doubt and just go with it for now. "Radon is the number one cause of lung cancer among non-smokers, according to EPA estimates. Overall, radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer. Radon is responsible for about 21,000 lung cancer deaths every year. About 2,900 of these deaths occur among people who have never smoked. On January 13, 2005, Dr. Richard H. Carmona, the U.S. Surgeon General, issued a national health advisory on radon. Visit www.cheec.uiowa.edu/misc/radon.html for more on a study by Dr. William Field on radon-related lung cancer in women. Secondhand smoke is the third leading cause of lung cancer and responsible for an estimated 3,000 lung cancer deaths every year. About 1,000 of these are people that never smoked, and about 2,000 are former smokers. Smoking affects non-smokers by exposing them to secondhand smoke. Exposure to secondhand smoke can have serious consequences for children’s health, including asthma attacks, affecting the respiratory tract (bronchitis, pneumonia), and may cause ear infections." *********************************************************
So that's 1000 out of 300 million Americans, so our share would be 3 or 4 in the whole state that get lung cancer and never smoked and aren't proved to be Radon. We still have not taken into consideration exposure to industrial, agricultural, or urban chemical exposure. Nor have we counted Asbestos as a cause yet in our remaining 3 to 4. by Helen Altonn, Honolulu Star-Bulletin November 12, 2006 "Galiher said his firm files probably 20 to 30 asbestos-related cases each year, and six to 15 involving mesothelioma. It could be 50 to 60 years before victims exposed to asbestos develop symptoms, he pointed out. 'It's tragic.' " That's just one local law firm, and mesothelioma is almost always deadly and asbestos caused. With some of these cases being non-smokers, the 3-4 gets eaten up real fast. There might not be even ONE person that gets cancer from SHS in Hawaii. Now lets take it still farther, where does most SHS exposure occur. The vast majority now adays is in the home not the bars. What are the odds that being in a bar did it to anyone?
CONCULSION; So the odds now get so ridiculously small that it could harding justify causing so much harm to thousands of peoples livilyhoods. The truth is it may annoy some people, but with a class 15 licence and signage, consenting adults will have a choice. -
The following "Helena Study" is constantly used by these people in support of the neccessity of Smoking Bans.
the following links will help you to sort out the truth from the lies that are being presented as scientific evidence.
Debunks the Helena study Used repeatedly by ACS and Coalition for a Tobacco Free Hawaii.
The Helena Study Chart" for full power point presentation visit :
Ban was not being enforced