This is Your Brain on Anti-Tobacco Propaganda

“Six hours of exposure to secondhand smoke,” the newspaper display ad stated, “is equal to smoking one pack of cigarettes.”

Big black letters said: “6 Hours = 1 Pack

Even those who have a pretty large aversion to the smell of smoke, and believe secondhand smoke is deadly, can see the problems with the above.

The ad does not specify, even broadly, the amount of exposure to secondhand smoke that equates to taking 20 cigarettes, lighting them and drawing the smoke directly into your lungs.

Six hours in a car with all the windows closed? How about six hours in a car with the smoker’s side window cracked open two inches or so? (me) What about if the window is wide open?

 I see a poor white lab rat in a Plexiglas box that is so filled with smoke  I can’t see the rat. That’s a lot different than sitting in a 400-square-foot room where one or two people are smoking. Or sitting a row or two away from a smoker in the semi-outdoor seats of an undomed sports stadium.

 “6 Hours = 1 Pack” was published and paid for by a local health organization that delivers high quality care for a whole lot of people. Sadly, they don’t seem worried that their credibility will be eroded by such fear-mongering, reckless use of statistics as seen in the “6 Hours = 1 Pack” ad.

 Or that other important messages such as “Be More Active” and “Reduce Stress” may be ignored as just more preaching.

This is Your Brain on Drugs,” said the famous old ad, with the egg sizzling in the hot frying pan.

 Get the picture?

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