Thursday, 8 March 2012

Support for Pell from certain quarters (less from others)

Less than wholehearted support from this quarter.

Support from the great and the good in the Scottish Parliament:
*S4M-02252 Richard Simpson: Smoking Ban Reduces Premature Birth Rate— That the Parliament welcomes the report by the Centre for Population and Health Sciences suggesting that there has been a 10% reduction in the country’s premature birth rate; notes that the report has associated this with the introduction of Scotland’s ban on smoking in public places, which was introduced in 2006; understands that the study was based on data collected over 14 years from more than 700,000 women; notes that the report comes at the same time as information claiming that, since the successful introduction of the smoking ban in public places, there has also been a reduction in hospital admissions arising from acute heart attacks; looks forward to the implementation of the further tobacco control measures that the Parliament has passed to discourage smoking, and believes that significant inequalities remain in the distribution of those still smoking, which it believes to be a major public health challenge for Scotland.

Supported by: Hugh Henry*, Patricia Ferguson*, James Kelly*, Sarah Boyack*, Jackson Carlaw*, Jean Urquhart*, Helen Eadie*, Stewart Maxwell*, John Park*, Malcolm Chisholm*, Anne McTaggart*, Paul Martin*, David Torrance*, Patrick Harvie*, John Mason*
It is surely inaccurate to describe the difference between 55 and 65 premature births per thousand live births as 10 per cent. A decline from 65 to 55 births may have taken place in the period Pell examined but they don't support her case – partly because the drop is already under way before the ban is introduced. This represents a decline in the numbers affected by about one-tenth but Dr Simpson categorically states that the premature birth rate has declined by 10 per cent. (This of course might help to explain how Pell achieved her 17 per cent drop in heart attack admissions.)


This piece from BBC Scotland in 2009 is also relevant because it states that the premature birth rate was increasing up to 2005: a change associated with a growing number of expectant mothers with diabetes. It does not deal with the post-2006 period. It also records the rates in the 1980s as around 54 per 1000, which means that the peak of 62/3 was not typical of the pre-smoking ban premature birth rate. In any case the variation between 54 and 62 per thousand is very small in percentage terms.

1 comment:

Bill Gibson said...

Interesting that politicians will support the results of a study creaed by someone who is directly funded by the Pharma Industry. They must be aware that in April 2011 the World Health Organisation recommended that Tobacco Control Advocates distance themselves from the Pharma Industry

Pell receives major funding from the Welcome Trust