Thursday, July 03, 2008

American Cancer Society studies back up Enstrom/Kabat

The longest-running and highest-quality secondhand smoke study ever done, "Environmental tobacco smoke and tobacco related mortality in a prospective study of Californians, 1960-98", completed "too late" (2003) to be included in Surgeon General Carmona’s report, found no link between secondhand smoke and lung cancer or heart disease.

This study was heavily used in our fight against Kurt Odenwald's 2005 smoking ban attempt.

David Kuneman presented the study in his speech to the St. Louis County Council:

"A recent study, known as the UCLA study, conducted by Enstrom and Kabat, surveyed 118,094 adults enrolled in an American Cancer Society study begun in 1959, and focused on 35,561 never smokers who had a spouse with known smoking status. This was a study with a particularly large number of study subjects. Never-smoking females married to nonsmokers had the same incidence of lung cancer and heart disease as those married to smokers. Never-smoking males married to smokers had the same incidence of heart disease, but 25% less lung cancer. Again, as in the case of the WHO study, studies can produce negative results indicating measurement errors are in the realm of 25%. Most noteworthy, the study was initiated prior to the development of the social gradient between urban residency and economic status of smokers vs. nonsmokers. In addition, this study controlled for urban residency, underscoring the importance of controlling for other risk factors of heart and lung disease.

The authors made one other important discovery. Study funding is likely to be denied when results do not fit with preconceived notions of outcome. The authors stated in the report that the
University of California withdrew funding after it became known results would be non-significant."

The Missouri Restaurant Association included this UCLA study in its array of studies against the ban.

Keep St. Louis Free! sent "Environmental tobacco smoke and tobacco related mortality in a prospective study of Californians, 1960-98" to all members of both the County Council and the St. Louis Board of Aldermen, all 90 plus mayors of St. Louis County and all the relevent press of St. Louis. We presented the study to the Council twice in speeches to the County Council, once early on and once on the day the Council voted the smoking ban down in August 2005. We handed out copies of the study at Council smoking ban hearings.

As I have investigated the secondhand smoke issue further, it strengthens my faith in the UCLA Study to find that two other studies using American Cancer Society data have come to the same negative result as did Enstrom and Kabat.