"Smoking-Related Deaths and Financial Costs," OTA 1985

From the Staff Memo, "Smoking-Related Deaths and Financial Costs," September 1985. Prepared by the Health Program, Office of Technology Assessment, U.S. Congress. "This OTA Staff Memorandum has been neither reviewed nor approved by the Technology Assessment Board," [needless to say, this report was represented to the public as official and authoritative - cast].

The OTA Study Staff consisted of Karl Kronebusch, Project Director; the 'Participants in an OTA workshop on the costs of smoking', April 9, 1985, were: Sid Lee, Chair, Milbank Memorial Fund; Robert Garrison, National Heart, Lung & Blood Institute; Thomas Glenn, National Cancer Institute; Millicent Higgins, National Heart, Lung & Blood Institute; Thomas Hodgson, National Center for Health Statistics; Eugene Lewitt, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey; Jay Lubin, National Cancer Institute; Bryan Luce, Battelle Human Affairs Research Center; Gerry Oster, Policy Analysis, Inc.; John Pinney, Institute for the Study of Smoking Behavior & Policy; Earl Pollack, Pollack Associates, Ltd.; RP Ravenholt, World Health Surveys, Inc.; Harry Rosenberg, National Center for Health Statistics; Herbert Seidman, American Cancer Society; Donald Shopland, Office of Smoking and Health; James Schultz, Minnesota Dept. of Health; Kenneth Warner, School of Public Health, Univ. of Michigan. John Mercer Pinney, Skull & Bones 1965, was the supervisor of the Surgeon General reports of 1977-81.

[Years later, in an interview on Tom Clark's program on Wisconsin Public Radio, Karl Kronebusch admitted that smoking is not an economic burden to society, and whined that "other people misused" the report. Hodgson, Lewitt, and Luce are authors of anti-smoking studies using the same fraudulent methods as the OTA study. Ravenholt is with the American Council on Science and Health, known to be uncritical anti-smoking zealots. And of course the largest contingent is from the Lasker Syndicate-controlled govenment agencies, and the ACS itself. -cast]

"The Subcommittee on Health of the House Ways and Means Committee has asked that OTA prepare an analysis of the financial costs of smoking to society, and the costs borne by the Medicare and Medicaid Programs. This article includes a review of previous estimates of the costs of smoking related disease. Past cost estimates have generally used the fraction of mortality related to smoking (attributable risk) and then multiplied that fraction times the costs of a particular illness category. The estimates in this paper will follow the same general approach. The first step in calculating costs is to estimate the number of deaths related to smoking in each of the major disease categories that has been associated with smoking -- cancers, heart disease, and chronic respiratory disease.

[This assumption that 'excess deaths equal excess costs' is unequivocally false. Everyone will die and cost something eventually, but these eventual costs are treated here as if they don't exist. This is why the OTA smoking cost claims and all others which employ this deceit should be unequivocally rejected. -cast]

The anti-smokers dissemble about the obvious

From page 56: "On the other hand, it is not entirely clear that non-smokers subsidize smokers' ill health. Government programs, taxation, and the health insurance and medical care systems set up an extensive network of subsidies between those who use services and those who contribute to them. Thus the issue of who bears the medical care and lost productivity costs of smoking is a complex one and is therefore not addressed in this Staff Memo."

[In fact, the reason this subject is not addressed is not because it is "complex," but because addressing it honestly would have adversely effected their true purpose of manufacturing hate propaganda against smoking. It is clear that most of the pretended "health costs of smoking" are not health costs at all. Two-thirds of the total ($43 billion versus $22 billion for "health costs" paid by all sources, including smokers themselves) consists of so-called "productivity costs," such as lost earnings. This cost is paid by smokers themselves, not by nonsmokers (who may even benefit by being hired to replace a smokers.) The cost of "smoking-related disease" to the federal programs, Medicare and Medicaid, which they were ostensibly supposed to be determining, amounted to a mere $4.2 billion -- less than a tenth of the "productivity costs" -- and this did not take into account the higher costs to these programs had they been nonsmokers. However, thanks to the deliberate deceit of the anti-smoker media, very few members of the public were well enough acquainted with the actual contents of the report to realize that the big numbers being flung in their faces were not "smokers' health costs" which nonsmokers were being "forced to subsidize" at all. -cast]

From "Future Costs If Smoking Is Reduced," pages 57-62: "At the present time, it is clear that large sums are spent treating smoking-related diseases. The method of OTA's estimates apportions health care costs based on the attributable risk for smoking-related mortality. The method of calculating the deaths attributable to smoking, in effect, subtracts out the deaths that would have occurred in 1982 but for the use of tobacco products. If the assumption that costs can be apportioned based on mortality is accepted, then the costs attributable to these "excess deaths" are "excess costs."

[In fact, the assumption that "costs can be apportioned based on mortality" can NOT be accepted. So-called "excess deaths" do not translate into "excess costs." Everyone dies and therefore costs something eventually, but in this fraudulent report and others like it, these costs are treated as if they do not exist. -cast]

"It is a perverse, but real fact of life, however, that elimination of smoking could lead to future increases in total medical spending, in the costs of the Medicare program, and in the budgets of the Social Security program and other government programs. Some researchers have attempted to estimate the effects that the reduction or elimination of smoking would have on medical care spending and the size of a nation's population. This research is still in its infancy; there are still many obstacles to overcome in making estimates of the effects of reduced smoking."

[The only "obstacles were strictly in the minds of those who were determined to pretend that smoking is an economic burden to society. The "obstacle" is that the data did not serve their agenda. It does not require finely detailed and complex research to establish that smoking saves enormous sums of money for these programs. -cast]

Preliminary Draft, Smoking-Related Deaths and Financial Costs." Karl Kronebusch, project director, Office of Technology Assessment, May 10, 1985. The cover said, "NOTE: This is a PRELIMINARY DRAFT. It has not been approved for release by OTA. It is being circulated for review purposes only, and should not be quoted, distributed, or reproduced. The material is being reviewed and should not be considered final." Nevertheless, the anti-smokers cited it extensively. The only thing they didn't do was reproduce it for the purposes of public scrutiny of its methods - not that the media would have allowed anyone to criticize it anyhow.

Preliminary Draft, 1985 OTA Report / UCSF

"A Review Of: Smoking-Related Deaths and Financial Costs" (Of the Preliminary Draft Prepared by the Office of Technology Assessment on May 10, 1985). By T. Sterling, A. Arundel, J. Weinkam. June, 1985. TD Sterling's main criticism, that "In consequence, estimates of attributable risk due to tobacco use are not valid if these estimates are derived from the comparison of populations that differ substantially with respect to employment patterns and occupational hazards, especially exposure to toxic chemicals, dusts, and fumes," is practically made to order for the Health Effects Institute. It lets them get away with suppressing research on the role of infection, and falsely blame smoking via confounding.

Sterling, June 1985 / UCSF

The "final" draft: "Staff Memo. Smoking-Related Deaths and Financial Costs, September 1985. Prepared by the Health Program, Office of Technology Assessment, US Congress," was still offically disavowed: "This OTA Staff Memorandum has been neither reviewed nor approved by the Technology Assessment Board." Once again, this didn't stop the anti-smokers from extensively utilizing it in their propaganda.

September 1985 OTA Staff Memo / UCSF

In the Organizational Roster of the 1985 OTA Annual Report to Congress, Dorothy P. Rice was on the Health Program Advisory Committee (page 91). Karl Kronebusch was listed as an Analyst in the "Special Projects" section of the Health and Life Sciences Division (page 58). The Senior Associate was Michael Gough. Is this the same Michael Gough who co-authored "Silencing Science" with Steve Milloy (1999)?

1985 OTA Annual Report / University of North Texas

In the 1986 OTA Annual Report, Kronebusch and Gough are on page 53.

1986 OTA Annual Report / University of North Texas

Older Studies

The Economic Costs of Smoking and Benefits of Quitting for Individual Smokers. G Oster, GA Colditz, NL Kelly. Prev Med 1984;13:377-389.

Oster et al. - Prev Med 1984 full article / UCSF

The Causes of Cancer. Quantitative Estimates of Avoidable Risks of Cancer in the United States Today. R Doll, R Peto. J Natl Cancer Inst 1981 Jun;66(6):1192-1308. "This article was commissioned as a report to the Office of Technology Assessment, U.S Congress, to provide background material for their assessment of "Technologies for Determining Cancer Risks From the Environment" (OTA, 1981)." This paper was also used as the basis for McGinnis & Foege 1993 (Actual causes of death in the United States. JM McGinnis, WH Foege. JAMA 1993 Nov 10;270(18):2207-2212.)

Doll & Peto - JNCI 1981 / UCSF

The OTA Report on Passive Smoking, 1986

Karl Kronebusch was also responsible for concocting the 1986 OTA report on passive smoking, for which he re-used his old mailing list of anti-smokers. The report was requested by Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska; "Decisions about what to include were made after consulting with members of Senator Stevens staff. (Passive Smoking in the Workplace, Selected Issues. Staff Paper Prepared by the Special Projects Office of the Health Program, Office of Technology Assessment, U.S. Congress, May 1986.)

Passive Smoking in the Workplace, Selected Issues, 1986 / UCSF

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cast 07-15-07