Policy Documents

Defending Legitimate Epidemiologic Research: Combating Lysenko Pseudoscience

James E Enstrom –
October 10, 2007

This analysis presents a detailed defense of my epidemiologic research in the May 17, 2003 British Medical Journal that found no significant relationship between environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) and tobacco-related mortality. In order to defend the honesty and scientific integrity of my research, I have identified and addressed in a detailed manner several unethical and erroneous attacks on this research. Specifically, I have demonstrated that this research is not "fatally flawed," that I have not made "inappropriate use" of the underlying database, and that my findings agree with other United States results on this relationship. My research suggests, contrary to popular claims, that there is not a causal relationship between ETS and mortality in the U.S. responsible for 50,000 excess annual deaths, but rather there is a weak and inconsistent relationship. The popular claims
tend to damage the credibility of epidemiology.