Statistical BS!

Posted By on September 30, 2010

It has been a while since I’ve needed to rant about anything but I saw a commercial last night that I just had to look into.  Have you guys seen these satirical wanna-be ads from an organization called “truth”?  They are an anti-tobacco group that claims to give you real facts from credible sources about the lies behind big tobacco and their advertising.  First of all, let me make one thing very clear before we go any further, everybody that is trying to sell you anything is lying to you.  It’s that simple.  As an example, if diet Dr. Pepper actually tastes as good as regular Dr Pepper, then there is no freakin’ need to make regular Dr Pepper anymore.  It doesn’t taste the same so stop telling me it does ya liars! irwin

The latest add from truth highlights an imaginary company called Shards O’ Glass which is of course a bad take off on the famed Bag O’ Glass that pitchman Irwin Mainway from Mainway Toys tried to sell on an old Saturday Night Live skit.  The commercial shows the company making a  recall on all their products because of the inherent dangers of a Popsicle with broken glass in it.  Witty yes (total unoriginal and a rip-off, yes) but the phony add ends with the statement that “Big Tobacco’s products kill someone every 6.5 seconds”.  I’m not gonna give them the satisfaction of linking to their site so you’ll have to look it up yourself.  Being the overly curious chap that I am, I felt it necessary to check this little factoid against whatever data I could find.  They made it real easy for me since they claim to use statistics directly from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as one of their sources.  Doesn’t take 5 years of community college or a journalism degree to figure I might as well start right there.  This is where it gets quirky.

The most current information available online from the CDC only goes back to 2007 but we can work with that since the truth never adds opinion to the information they supply (direct wording from their website).  I’ve made it clear to you guys that I’m not the smartest kid in the room and at times am more than a few fries short of a happy meal so bear with me as I try to break down the numbers to their most basic form.  The add from truth states tobacco kills someone every 6.5 seconds.  Starting with simple math I deduced that there are 60 seconds in a minute, 60 minutes in and hour and therefore 3600 seconds in a hour.  Going another step further I know with 24 hours in a day the math tells me I get 86,400 seconds per day.  Now stay with me even though this is getting a little boring cause I do have a point to make.  Using this very basic equation of the number of seconds per day and the number of deaths per every 6.5 seconds you get   86,400 ÷ 6.5 = 13,292.31  Lets round that down to be nice and we have 13,292 deaths per day according to what they say.cemetary

Before I even started my fancy cipherin’, that figure seemed excessive for the number of tobacco users killed and with a tiny bit of digging it is.  Using the 13,292 deaths per day you end the year burying 4,851,580 bodies due to tobacco.  That’s a lot of dead peeps my peeps!  Where the hell are we putting them all?  Funny thing is that if I look at the 2007 Death and Mortality statistics from the CDC they only counted 2,423,712 deaths total no matter what the cause.  WTF my brothers?  How can the numbers be that far off?  Simple, because they are pushing an agenda and the only way to do it is to fool you into believing they are giving you real facts.  Even better is that on another page of their site it clearly says that big tobacco needs to replace the “1200 customers they loose everyday”.  Well what the hell number is it?  It’s a powerful message that this fake commercial tries to get across but it’s flat out crapola!

This little example just goes to show you the great lengths anti-tobacco groups will go to get their agendas across.  I should be wearing a helmet and yet I can see through all the statistical BS that is heaped upon us in the hopes that it’s never questioned.  These are the kinds of forces we are up against and one of the reason smoking bans pass so easily.  The constant stream of misleading facts like these only empower the antis and is very influential in convincing the uniformed to back bans and support massive tax increases on a legal product simply because they don’t like it.  That’s the world we’re living in my boys.frontpage

Every story has a moral so I guess the point here is to understand what type of organizations and people are out there tyring everyday to not only reduce but ban tobacco use.  They will use any tactic, quote misleading statistics and if necessary even flat out lie to get what they want.  I think we are all fully aware of the risks we take in enjoying cigars even in moderation but as adults we should be allowed to continue to make those decisions with unbiased information.  Not managing the risks you take in life can be and actually is very dangerous, but you know what else kills millions every year?  Life.  We’re all on a clock and life ticks by each and everyday bringing us closer to the big finale where the curtain drops and the show ends.  You’re gonna go no matter what cause that’s how life works.  Why not enjoy it with a few simple pleasures?

See you all next week on October 5th for Cigar Night at Titletown Tobacco.  Don’t forget about about my free cigars offer to you for any new member(s) you sign up.

The Cigar Soldier

About the author

The Cigar Soldier is the founding father and President of The Brotherhood of the Leaf, an internet community of cigar enthusiasts and Northeast Wisconsin’s only true membership based cigar club. As the main writer for Cigar Night, his rants can sting, stir or inspire your emotions, as he leaves no topic of enjoying the cigar lifestyle off his hit list.


19 Responses to “Statistical BS!”

  1. The First Lady says:

    Math never lies! Way to use it to make a valid point Cigar Soldier! (Gee, if that stat WAS true, I’d be giving a lot of thought to starting a mortuary/funeral parlor business!)

  2. Morgan says:

    What’s that? Some “anti-drug” campaign lying to push their agenda? NEVER. *snerk*

    The war on drugs is a lie, my friends. It’s what keeps said drugs rare and expensive so the CIA can continue to involve themselves in the drug trade to finance their front organizations. It also creates issues like drug running at the border (which provides a wealth of political controversy, as we’ve seen in Arizona) and keeps private prison companies like CCA in business.

    All one needs is to look at present-day Portugal to see what happens when a country decides to stop fighting drugs (and their own people) and instead focuses on drug rehab for its citizens. The Cato Institute has a paper on this very subject:

    Decriminalization in Portugal has been an incredible success. It robs the cartels of a valuable commodity (since it no longer needs to be smuggled in) which reduces gang violence, and at the same time, all the money saved from enforcement, incarceration and prosecution can go into treatment and frees up the police to investigate other, more pressing problems.

    Decriminalization: good for the people, good for the society, bad for the elite, bad for spy organizations, and bad for organized crime. What’s not to like?

    Incidentally, lying to further an agenda of banning something is hardly new, nor is it limited to drugs. The Violence Policy Center used unethical and misleading tactics that ultimately led to the .50 BMG Regulation Act of 2004 in California, banning sales of any firearm chambered in the caliber to anyone who isn’t a cop. The ban stemmed from fears that terrorists would use such a weapon to shoot airplanes on the ground, despite no .50 BMG rifle having EVER been involved in any crime (they’re prohibitively expensive) and despite the effectiveness of smaller and more affordable rifles’ ability to accomplish the same task.

    ‘‘Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect everyone who approaches that jewel. Unfortunately, nothing will preserve it but downright force. Whenever you give up that force, you are inevitably ruined’’
    — Patrick Henry

  3. smartypants says:

    I LOVE the way you just do the math… It always infuriates me when ANY person uses faulty logic and “massaged” statistics to make a point! The funny thing is, only closed minded individuals EVER attempt to do this…

    next thing you know, smoking will be responsible for gang violence too, since “55.9% of black, non-Hispanic nonsmokers were exposed to secondhand smoke,”(per CDC website) and 35% of gang membership across the country is African American (national gang task force statistics []) I’m sure soon someone will correlate those two unrelated statistics to invent some rule that makes it illegal to smoke while black!

  4. As absurd as that sounds, it’s the type of thing the anti-tobacco crowd has been doing for years. They are notorious for taking different studies and massaging the numbers together to magically create a “new study”. Surprisingly the outcome is always exactly what they want it to be.

  5. Great post Morgan. It’s the tried and true adage of Government protecting us from ourselves even if we don’t need it. More laws and regulations on law abiding citizens don’t solve or fix the problems. Enforcing the rules on the books and not being so fuckin politically correct for fear of offending someone does.

  6. Morgan says:

    While I abhor political correctness, I do like using correct language. That is, I do not use the “PC” labels, per se, but how people self-identify. For example, I am an out lesbian; that is a self-identification. Someone calling me a “dyke” is a label (and one with which I disagree). Just the same, while I think that government should keep itself clear of personal choices, the regulation of industries is a very good thing; all one needs to do is look at the current (sad) state of the banking industry to see how deregulation of industry works (or rather, how it doesn’t). The same thing happened in the energy and telecom sectors; we ended up with Enron and the resurrected Ma Bell (in the form of the new AT&T, which is quashing innovation and competition with their superior market position, including their opposition of net neutrality).

    I am absolutely in favor of preserving individual rights. I agree with the Supreme Court’s decision that the 2nd Amendment applies to individuals, not organizations. The framers of the Constitution wanted to enshrine certain personal rights above all others, having seen the effects of their removal. During the Constitutional Conventions, a member of the Georgia delegation commented in opposition to the creation of a Bill of Rights,

    “If we list the set of rights, some fools in the future are going to claim that people are entitled only to those rights enumerated.”

    This sentiment was then embodied in the Ninth and Tenth Amendments to the Constitution:

    IX. The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

    X. The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

    These were added to allay the concerns of the Georgia delegation that we would one day construe the Bill of Rights to be the only rights guaranteed. What they essentially say is that just because something isn’t in the Constitution in no way denies any other rights under the law. This is why freedom from discrimination (e.g. civil rights) are ultimately constitutional and proper. There was need to end discrimination on the basis of identifying criteria (see Titles VI, VII, IX U.S.C.), and through various legislative efforts, we codified such rights.

    I am (almost) categorically in favor of any legislation that furthers the cause of civil — and ultimately human — rights. Anything that allows us to live our lives better or more free have my support. The only times I have supported laws that limit rights are when such limits are in place to preserve others’ rights, e.g stalking laws, which are in place to prevent one from making another feel fear for their safety; or slander and libel, which enjoins others from making false and defamatory statements about a person. For example, without such laws I could say such things as, “Ron Johnson has sex with farm animals,” (and provide a selection of doctored photos of him doing just that) without repercussion. Obviously, this would harm his reputation and his ability to go about his business. I believe that laws which prevent me from making such statements are just, because they are equally applied with fair standards (see the Fourteenth Amendment on the equal protection of laws and due process).

    I think the best statement made about the First Amendment is this, “The First Amendment did not guarantee that we would be protected from being offended all the time; rather, it guaranteed that we would all be offended some of the time.” (Prof. Denise Scheberle, Chair of UWGB’s Political Science Dept., and might I add, I LOVED her classes.) I think the same standard can be applied to other rights guaranteed by the Constitution (either explicitly or by appropriate legislation): the 2nd Amendment does not guarantee us safety from firearm violence; rather, it guarantees that we will never be without immediate recourse from firearm and other violence. You can plug in the rest (ad nauseum).

    Like I said though, corporations are the true embodiment of greed and inhumanity in our culture and should be heavily regulated.

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