Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Today's Chicago Sun-Times on Smoking Bans and Heart Attacks

The largest study of this issue, which used nationwide data instead of looking at cherry-picked communities, concluded that smoking bans in the U.S. "are not associated with statistically significant short-term declines in mortality or hospital admissions for myocardial infarction." It also found that "large short-term increases in myocardial infarction incidence following a workplace ban are as common as the large decreases reported in the published literature."

That study, published by the National Bureau of Economic Research in March, suggests that publication bias -- the tendency to report positive findings and ignore negative ones -- explains the "consistent" results highlighted by the institute's committee. But even though the panelists say they tried to compensate for publication bias by looking for relevant data that did not appear in medical journals, they ignored the national bureau's paper, along with analyses that found no declines in heart attacks following smoking bans in California, Florida, New York, Oregon, England, Wales and Scotland.,CST-EDT-sullum21.article#