Sunday, 27 November 2011

Pell declares a disappointing drop in smoking rates

Jill Pell (not to prejudice readers) has published a study that concludes:
Quit attempts increased in the three months leading up to Scotland's smoke-free legislation, resulting in a fall in smoking prevalence. However, neither has been sustained suggesting the need for additional tobacco control measures and ongoing support.
 This sounds like a call for 'reward for failure', which we seem to see too much of these days. We're not succeeding in bringing down smoking rates, so we need to up the budget and try even harder. (More comment here.)

Of course I have not studied her subject in detail, but I don't believe she is the first to point out that the long decline in smoking rates has flattened out in recent years. I don't know her methods either but she does seem quite thorough:
Our study has a number of strengths. We used a robust and flexible modelling approach. We had Scotland-wide data from all prescribing sources, including prescriptions issued in Scotland but dispensed elsewhere. We had data over a seven year period, including three years following the legislation, reducing the risk of random variation due to short follow-up. We also had nationally representative quarterly data on smoking prevalence.
Scotland-wide data? A seven-year period? Both (indeed either) of these would have made the heart attack study considerably more credible

But in this case it's not her method I'm quarrelling with. It's her conclusion that resources have to be increased, even though all she has created is a nation of serial quitters. Sadly, her kind of thinking seems to prevail in establishment circles.


Xopher said...

Could it be that the overly clever Prof Pell designed her study simply to focus on the need for further measures but failed to realize some of the appropriate data might display an unfortunate truth? Whoops!

Anonymous said...

How does she correlate this new factoid of hers with her last factoid that as smoking rates declined, so did heart attacks - which in fact, if she is now saying smoking rates did not decline, then that could not have been the cause of any reported drop in heart attacks - irregardless of the fact she is full of sh*te no matter what she says and her "facts" can't be trusted worth a d*mn - which is another issue. Does she realize she is shooting herself in the foot on the heart attack study by now saying this one.

Anonymous said...

1) Smoking rate steady

2) Population probably has increased

3) Hmmmmm, that means the 'actual' number of smokers has INCREASED!!!!!

Gary K.