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Old 08-21-2014, 02:24 PM
RivkahChaya's Avatar
RivkahChaya RivkahChaya is offline
Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 9,924
People in the CDC Quit Smoking Ads

This might get derailed, and I personally don't mind thread drift, but that means the mods may move it; however, I think that what I have right now is genuinely a factual question.

It's about those CDC quit smoking ads. They have a guy right now who takes out his teeth, and says he lost them to some kind of disease from smoking, and a women who says her baby was two months premature because she smoked while she was pregnant.

They've had a guy who had his legs amputated, and a couple of people with laryngeal cancer.

Now, I know that all these things have statistically high associations with smoking (actually, I wasn't aware that smoking caused premature birth; I thought it caused small-for-term babies-- babies that were delivered at term, but were sometimes the size of preemies). The CDC website has a bio for Amanda, but offers no real direct line from smoking to prematurity (it seems her daughter does have ongoing health problems, and she herself blames it on smoking). It could well be a post hoc error.

Anyway, what sort of verification is there that the people we are seeing were actually harmed by smoking? I realize that laryngeal cancer is very rare in non-smokers, and so the evidence may be pretty good that a lot of these people wouldn't have had their problems if they hadn't smoked, but the woman with the premature baby really troubles me, because lots of non-smokers have premature babies.

I'm a non-smoker who is very happy when something discourages people from smoking-- short of lying. Lying backfires. You show people lots of lung cancer victims who smoked, and that's pretty fair, because the evidence that smoking causes lung cancer is indisputable, and anyone who goes and looks it up is going to have the information confirmed.

However, someone who looks up prematurity and maternal smoking is going to find a lot of variables. I'd hate for someone to check up on that particular story, decide it's BS, and therefore the entire 1-800-QUIT-NOW campaign is bogus, and further, that all anti-smoking info is bogus.

Does anyone know how the ad campaign finds the people it uses, and how it verifies their stories?