This week, the HSE issued yet another report on smoking. The amount of repetitive and lazy research on this topic is probably why the HSE has little money left to invest in other areas.
Anyway, this particular headline ran, “Smoking is the cause of 100 deaths and more than 1,000 hospital admissions in Ireland every week, according to research from the HSE.” That is not what it actually said but I’ll come back to that.
Now, you need to understand that there is no one ailment unique to smoking so it is difficult to understand how the HSE can claim any death whatsoever from it. Smokers don’t die from lighting cigarettes. They die, like everybody else, from heart disease, cancers and all the rest. Again these are all conditions involving multiple causes and it is scientifically impossible to single out one of them for study. Having checked one time with the CSO, I found out that not a single person in Ireland has EVER been certified as having died from smoking, either as the primary or secondary cause. Smoking can CONTRIBUTE to ill-health, that is the pertinent point, but it cannot cause it on its own.
So where did this death headline come from? Back in the early noughties the American Cancer Society issued a ‘statement’ that claimed that one in five deaths in America were attributable to smoking. Never mind that there was no credible scientific evidence to back up this claim, the soundbite was just repeated often enough so that it would be accepted without question by the dumb masses. It was a ratio that other countries were invited to apply to their own mortality statistics for propaganda purposes.
In Ireland, we have 29,000 deaths from all causes each year on average. That converts to 558 deaths every week in the country. So the 100 deaths/week from smoking contained in the report of our HSE is simply the application of the 5 : 1 ratio, dreamt up several years ago in the States. It is not research and it is not new. Just rehashed bullshit, puked out on a slow news day.
So I went back to the headline and looked at the second part of it, the “1,000 hospital admissions in Ireland every week.” Always one to check the facts, I went to the CSO to discover how many hospital admissions there are each week/month/year in our little country.After all, if the five to one ratio holds true, then there must be 5,000 hospital admissions every week or 260,000 annually. But no! Taking all ages and sexes, the total amount of hospital admissions for 2016 was 17,290 …………. FOR THE WHOLE YEAR!!
Stranger still, the headline should apparently have read, “1,000 (smoking) hospital admissions in Ireland every year,” because that is the official statistic. As always though, the devil is in the detail. HIQUA has already admitted that figures for those who smoke and those who don’t, are not collected by the hospitals. So there is no hard data from which to draw the conclusion in the headline. At best it’s a guess and at worst it is just empty propaganda. Either way, it is not factual.
I hate being lied to for my own good.