INDEPENDENT NEWS

Research Institute Adds Nothing To Knowledge

Published: Wed 1 Aug 2007 12:06 AM
The New Zealand Medical Research Institute adds nothing to our collective medical knowledge in its Cannabis/Lung research on 300 plus kiwis, writes Christchurch public health advocate and Mayoral candidate, Blair Anderson.
[see note 1, One cannabis joint as bad as five cigarettes: study | Reuters also Joint study shows lung damage:Dominion Post ]
Nor is this research finding remotely relevant when used to justify punitive cannabis laws in any jurisdiction centred around tobacco's largely successful 'education' based public health response.
Helena Shovelton, Chief Executive of the British Lung Foundation throws us a straw man. "Smoking a joint is more harmful to the lungs than smoking a cigarette and we have just banned people from doing that in public places because of the health risks."
When Shovelton says "The danger cannabis poses to respiratory health is consistently being overlooked", global tobacco uptake these past 20 years has, as a DIRECT consequence, placed a health burden that will result in ONE BILLION DEATHS by 2021. Cannabis on the other hand, if history and epidemiological data well known to science is to be taken into account will account for ZERO.
Anderson, who has a long time interest in public advocacy for better air notes that New Zealand's latest Air quality data (Gavin Fisher, Endpoint Research ) suggests 1100 deaths per year, and a Billion dollars every year in 'losses' consequence to that respiratory burden, noting that in this matter the public has no choice.
Anderson asked the question at the 2002 "Road to Cleaner Air" Conference [Wellington] as to what research funding do we allocate in this area, Professor Alistair Woodward [then] of the Department of Public Health, Wellington School of Medicine, University of Otago replied 'none'. When pressed to indicate a best guess how many kiwi's die from mobile source diesel emissions Woodward said, 'about twice the national road toll', there was an audible gasp from the 400+ delegates present.
Anderson says none of this is new, public health centred about what we can choose to do versus what we have imposed on us is a constant challenge, recalling the scientific spat over anti-smoking and pollution advertisements that promulgate lies or half-truths, 'which statisticians declared were acceptable' and explored by the Press Council [see note 2].
"The question is, when it comes to drugs... why does everyone run for cover? "
Which part of 'consistent' public policy is being overlooked?
And why is medical science so determined to prove the inconsequential, when the odds are a billion to nothing!
ends

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