Absolutely Atrocious Science

Via Hit and Run, this is some of the worst science I have seen in a while, and it really makes you wonder about what other schlock gets published (as long as the findings support politically correct principles)

A study in Preventive Medicine
finds that a smoking ban in Bowling Green, Ohio, was followed by a 47
percent drop in hospital admissions for coronary heart disease.
According to the researchers, "The findings of this study suggest that
clean indoor air ordinances lead to a reduction in hospital admissions
for coronary heart disease, thus reducing health care costs"....

A look at the raw hospital-admission numbers for Bowling Green, as reported by Michael Siegel, may help resolve this mystery:

1999: 35
2000: 24
2001: 24
2002: 36
2003: 22
2004: 26

Although
the smoking ban took effect in March 2002, Siegel notes, the
researchers treat that year's admissions as if they all occurred before
the ban

That's hilarious.  What responsible researcher would look at that data set, with a March 2002 start date for the program, and be able to come to a conclusion that a smoking ban had any effect at all.  I'm not sure I even fault the "researchers" -- they are obviously trying to flog their point of view with BS data and must be happy they found a sucker to publish them.  But Preventative Medicine should be ashamed.

  • http://www.4engr.com engineering

    its really impossible to predict the main things...........yaah..now a dyas all research is too many may be factors makes the people dubious.............thanks for nice posting

  • http://www.4engr.com engineering

    its really impossible to predict the main things...........yaah..now a dyas all research is too many may be factors makes the people dubious.............thanks for nice posting

  • Joel

    More years are needed, but I bet the data distribution would be Poisson -- completely random.

    This is funny.

    I noticed the lead author has a long publication list. Scary.

  • Joel

    Looking at the "AbstractPlus" feature, it was based on monthly data not the yearly data cited by whoever it is you linked to. And the author used a fairly advanced time series analysis technique (ARIMA)

    This only makes it worse because the conclusion of the study is ridiculous on the face of it. I'd like to see the whole article to see where he went wrong, if i can. I know only enough to get in trouble, perhaps. If anyone finds it, please email me.

  • Dave

    Nice sample size too - if 2002 was 4 people and 2004 was 2 people, that would be a 50% drop! Heh...

  • http://www.daublin.org Daublin

    Another thing to note in the paper is that they do not compare against previous years. Instead, they compare against a control city, Kent, Ohio.

    It's decently done, from the sound of things. But the lack of data makes the result weak. It's only for two cities, and only for a handful of years.

    Anyway, I'm still not sure I'd want to live there. I don't expect smoking to be good for me, but it's my body to do with as I will. "It's for your own good" is a creepy thing to tell adults.

  • Always Skeptical

    And and added bonus is that we may have identified the backbone of the AGW consensus.

  • scraphoops

    They did this exact thing in Pueblo, CO a few years ago. They passed an indoor smoking ban and the next year claimed incredible results based on tiny numbers. This pretty much directly led to the same indoor smoking ban in Colorado Springs (where I live). I quit smoking 8 years ago and this stuff still drives me crazy.

  • Connie

    The whole smoking issue is getting scary...special "politically correct" or well funded groups turning American citizens into criminals for their choices in lifestyle. Sorry, but I also don't buy all the "research" that's been pumped into media regarding smoking. This country sounds more and more like the good ol' USSR of yesterday. Be careful coffee lovers...they'll be coming after that nasty, unhealthy chemical called caffiene next. I think I might have to retire to another country. (I won't give my email...Big Brother might be monitoring for future detainee's who are illegally smoking tobacco)