Unemployment and Smoking

I read this in my USC Trojan Family Alumni Magazine/Autumn 2004 (sorry, it looks like the don't believe in permalinks so the quoted portion is in purple):

Take This Job and Smoke It

Parents worried about the insidious charm of Joe Camel and the Marlboro Man have a new nemesis in the struggle to keep kids away from cigarettes: the guy who signs the paycheck. Everyone knows about the dangers to children of second-hand smoke. Now a USC study in the journal Health Psychology reveals heretofore unsuspected dangers of unemployment-related smoke. According to Jennifer B. Unger of the Keck School's Institute for Prevention Research, should you get sacked, your kids will be 87 percent more likely than their peers to begin smoking within a year. The results come from interviews with 2,000 sixth and seventh graders at 24 urban schools. “In times of economic and employment instability, many more families could face losing their jobs,” Unger told the Internet Broadcasting System. Their kids may face even longer-term problems.

Sometimes I wonder if researchers take 2 seemingly unrelated things and try to find a link. I remember one summer in college, I read in either Newsweek or Time that CheezWhiz was linked to decreased incidences of cancer (they may have mentioned a specific type of cancer, I don't remember). At the time I thought that was fabulous and couldn't wait until the next time I could actually affford CheezWhiz (American cheese food product isn't cheap).  

Comments (2)

  1. Vatsan says:

    When I first learned about correlation coefficient in statistics, one of the exercises we did was something like finding the correlation between rainfall in our city and incidence of crime in london. It turned out there was a very high correlation indeed. So the London cops are really to blame for lack of rain in south Indian 😐

  2. Boofus McGoofus says:

    The example we did in statistics class was that Coke caused polio. (Sales of Coca-Cola increase in the summertime, as did cases of polio.) There is a huge difference between correlation and cause.

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