Following the latest madness in Pediatrics (which we covered here and will probably address again shortly), Carl Phillips proposed a contest to predict what will be the most absurd “scientific” claim to appear in an anti-tobacco journal in the near future.
Carl’s entry (from the talk he is presenting at the TMA meeting this week, challenging the concept that there is such a thing as “science-based policy”, as bandied about by the FDA and others): “A recent survey found that 38.72% more cigarettes are consumed by youth due to the lack of visible dog poo smears on the sticks, and therefore
tobacco companies’ persistent failure to apply such smears proves that they are continuing to market to children.” (If you want more context for that, he plans to post a movie of his talk to the website when he gets a chance.)
We cannot offer any great prizes, but if we do get some good entries we will make sure that the one that comes the closest to being accurate and the one that is just the most amusing are cited in a paper we will write on the topic of these absurdities (and we will even offer the invitation to write such a paper for inclusion in the next edition of the THR Yearbook to the contest winner if so desired).
(We had a spirited debate about phrasing. I (Paul) could not stand the thought of the word “poo” appearing in our blog. But it is Carl’s personal contest entry and he argued that it better fits the people who still refer to “spit tobacco” and who think that high school science projects constitute important research than does a more polite term. Also in regards to our modest prizes, we apologize that as a consequence of our views we do not have access to the multimillion dollar Legacy grants that could be easily secured by those doing the research we are referring to.)