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How many beds are occupied by people who failed statistics?

From the absurd to the ridiculous: A new study commissioned by the wanna-bet-these-guys-are-impartial Quebec Coalition for Tobacco Control finds that a third of Quebec’s hospital beds are occupied by smokers or former smokers.

And the Gazette publishes this under the inflammatory headline: Smokers cost Quebec $930M a year.

Erm, did anyone think to ask how many of those people are actually in the hospital for health issues even remotely related to smoking? Or, more prosaically, what proportion of the general population either smokes or used to smoke?

I think this blog needs a headdesk tag.

{ 4 comments… add one }
  • Mario Parise 08.19.10, 9:31 AM

    It would be incredibly funny if it turned out more than a third of the population were either currently or formerly smokers. It would actually imply that smoking might be good for you.

    Not that I would believe that, but I would find it very very funny.

    On the topic of misinterpreting data, have you read Wired.com’s article on The Death of the Web? It’s crazy how comfortable journalists are with misinterpreting information.

    • segacs 08.19.10, 10:50 AM

      Nope. But I’d like to. Can you send me a link?

  • Mario Parise 08.20.10, 9:52 AM
    • segacs 08.20.10, 7:28 PM

      Yes, actually, I saw your blog post on this. I just didn’t make the connection.

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