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techno900



Joined: 28 Mar 2001
Posts: 1442

PostPosted: Tue Mar 26, 2013 3:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
No, Techno, net figures are not the analytical tool--and are impossible to determine. Comparing someone with a non-smoking disease to someone with a smoking disease is completely inappropriate in statistics. It compares two different populations, and destroys whatever power there may be in the statistics.


Mac, your ignorance is showing. Didn't you look at the Danish study that coboardhead posted? It did exactly what you say can't be done, it compared a group of smokers to a group of non smokers (two different populations) and followed their health care costs for a period of time and concluded that those that smoked did have a higher overall cost for medical care for the time period in the study. Maybe you should contact them and teach them a thing or two.
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mac



Joined: 07 Mar 1999
Posts: 4956

PostPosted: Tue Mar 26, 2013 4:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Techno--I'm not sure you can read. Here is from the conclusion that you summarized:

Quote:
By limiting the smoking-related diseases to those five groups and assuming the costs for all other diagnoses to be independent of smoking status, Barendregt et al. omitted substantial direct lifetime health costs of smoking and thus underestimated direct lifetime health costs for smokers and overestimated direct lifetime health costs for non-smokers.


Your posting conclusion was that we weren't getting the full story, the CDC is biased, you doubt you are getting the full story, etc. Whether the annual costs are $100 billion, a bit more, or a bit less, is irrelevant. The killer weed kills one in three, is a big product in your state, and use involves a subsidy.

In fact, the methodological problems with the Danish study illustrate the point I made. If you try to get two study groups, and follow them over time, other causes of disease pop-up in the non-smoking control and make comparisons of limited value. As the part you excerpted noted, the study only looked at some of the smoking related diseases. Part of the problem that leads to this is that if your numbers are small, which they typically are in rigorous epidemiology studies, they have relatively little statistical power. There are longer and more rigorous responses, but you appear to have missed the point--again. Annual costs of smoking can be determined with great precision. It is true that most of those costs are associated with smoking that began many years ago. But they are real costs, and such costs don't appear in the non-smoker column.

Total health expenses are about $2.6 trillion. Smoking accounts for about $300 billion and tobacco about $100 billion. Those are the most preventable costs. Some studies have concluded that at some point the body fat acts like an organ and hijacks the endocrine system, demanding more food. In other words, it becomes very like an addiction. Yet we are subsidizing both--which was my point all along.
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techno900



Joined: 28 Mar 2001
Posts: 1442

PostPosted: Wed Mar 27, 2013 7:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Again, you make an end run, harping on the ills of smoking. I DON'T DISAGREE WITH YOU! That's not my issue as you well know.

My hypothesis -

Group one, all smokers. After they have all passed away, their lifetime medical costs total 1 billion dollars, and are mostly from smoking relate illness. Average life span = 65 yrs.

Group two, all non smokers. After they have all passed away, their lifetime medical costs total 1 billion dollars, mostly from illness not related to smoking. Average life span = 75 yrs.

Since group two lived 10 years longer, they experienced more non smoking related medical costs because of their extended life spans.

Therefore smoking does not generate more medical related costs than non smokers over a lifetime.

This probably isn't true, but my point is that the anti smoking faction hypes the 1 billion cost to smokers to make their case, while they ignore the costs of the non smoking group to sway opinion. The net medical costs of the smoking group is NOT 1 billion dollars more than the non smoking group, and it doesn't take statistical analysis to figure this out regardless of the validity of my hypothesis.
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coboardhead



Joined: 26 Oct 2009
Posts: 1908

PostPosted: Wed Mar 27, 2013 9:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I get Techno's point. We see the same thing with global warming. Deniers or zealots may each pick a point on a graph and make an argument for rapiid warming or even cooling. We have witnessed this on this forum.

We need to be cautious that we do not develop initiatives to combat global warming, OR bury our heads in the sand, based on political interpretation and selection of data. Mac, GT and others have indicated this.

But, this does not mean that when we see a product that causes so much damage (smoking, coal power plants, big gulps) that our government should not take steps to reduce the risks to society as a whole. Isn't one of the points of having agencies such as Dept of Health and the EPA in the government to do just this? These costs need to be passed on, with the product; even when those extra costs may reduce the use and, therefore, threaten the personal freedoms of the consumer. We can quibble over how much the damage is, or come up with a feasible method to address the problem.
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boggsman1



Joined: 24 Jun 2002
Posts: 3467
Location: at a computer

PostPosted: Wed Mar 27, 2013 9:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Its happening again with GMO's. In 15-20 years , I'm afraid we will see the damage that GMO's have done to our bodies. In Europe, most countries require GMO labeling, not here, except Whole Foods Markets...so guess what? people dont eat foods containg GMO's in Europe, and they dont get produced there. In the US, labeling is NOT required, and they are everywhere. I'm afraid many illnesses will occur down the road, and again the system will foot the bill. History repeats.
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techno900



Joined: 28 Mar 2001
Posts: 1442

PostPosted: Wed Mar 27, 2013 10:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

coboardhead said:
Quote:
I get Techno's point. We see the same thing with global warming. Deniers or zealots may each pick a point on a graph and make an argument for rapiid warming or even cooling. We have witnessed this on this forum.


Thank God.

Now, I do believe that there is global warming and that man generates a lot of co2, but how much of the global warming is a result of man's co2? There was on numerous occasions in the earth's history, huge amounts of co2 and the globe was VERY warm - most of our countries have been under water a few times. All this before man evolved and some after, but before the industrial revolution. Some of this from sun activity and who knows what.

So my question - If man does everything possible to curtail co2 output, would it have an impact on global warming? Some - yes, but how much? No matter what the US does, unless China and a few other countries get on the bandwagon, little change will occur at the cost of many freedoms and huge expense. Some feel that we have to move ahead regardless of the cost and imposition on our freedoms, but I am not one of them, at least not yet.

No need to research and post copious "facts" to prove that I am na´ve, I have seen a lot, from both sides of the issue and I choose to be a skeptic for a while longer.

It's possible that we will have a huge volcanic eruption or even a meteor strike in the not too distant future, sending us into another mini ice age. Being a bit too warm now may be a blessing. There's a lot we can't control.
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mac



Joined: 07 Mar 1999
Posts: 4956

PostPosted: Wed Mar 27, 2013 10:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

There is a typo in my last posting--the diseases of obesity cost $300 billion, the costs of smoking $100 billion.

Techno--obviously in a total cost of $2.6 trillion for health care the costs of poor choices--overeating and smoking--are not the whole story. Everyone will die, and unless it is suddenly in bed, or in an accident that doesn't require surgery, those deaths will be a big part of the total cost of medical care. With the population aging, those costs will go up, and the Federal share, in Medicaire, will go up a lot.

With that said, your comparison doesn't work. First, on a logic basis, the costs of dying, absent treatment of lung cancer, emphysema, or congestive heart failure, are pretty much the same. Putting off those deaths represents an economic benefit because even most retired folks contribute something to the economy, but more important, in an actuarial sense, or using present worth analysis, future costs can be discounted to the present. They will be paid with cheaper dollars, and we will be able to use current dollars for more beneficial purposes. The annual costs, again, absent a chronic disease most commonly the result of obesity and and smoking, are peanuts compared to the cost of dying. Second, you are putting two different statistical groups into the same category for analysis--which violates pretty much all the rules about statistical analysis. Different populations have different properties, but combining the populations and looking at the properties of the combined group tells you far less than looking at the different populations separately. I don't know where you get your similar cost--$1 billion-- for medical care for an average age span of 65 and 75--both those age spans are actually wrong.

Certainly if the 20% of the population that smokes stopped their medical costs would not go to zero. But the annual cost of $100 billion is not the total medical cost for smokers, it is just the best possible estimate of the smoking related health cost. (Using gross math, they are 20% of the population, and use 20% of the total medical resources, once smoking and obesity costs are subtracted, or about $400 billion a year.)

My argument is that we should not subsidize unhealthy behavior like overeating and smoking, instead we should reflect the economic costs of the side effects in the cost of the products. It seems like a fairly conservative, market-oriented approach to charging those who argue that they should be free to take risks, with the costs of those risks.
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isobars



Joined: 12 Dec 1999
Posts: 13792

PostPosted: Wed Mar 27, 2013 11:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

coboardhead wrote:
this does not mean that when we see a product that causes so much damage (smoking, coal power plants, big gulps) that our government should not take steps to reduce the risks to society as a whole. Isn't one of the points of having agencies such as Dept of Health and the EPA in the government to do just this?.

NO!!!
The U.S. is founded with individuals freedoms as a Prime Directive. Those agencies are to warn us of hazards like Big Gulps, protect us from dangerous hidden hazards like poisons, and then get the hell out of the way and let adults commit suicide with their fast food weakness. So far, I'd rather choose what I eat and pay some insurance costs for the halfwits. Outlawing Big Gulps is conceptually exactly the same as requiring helmets for all automobile occupants or outlawing red meat.

OTOH, I chuckle at and silently support sin taxes on harmful products I avoid, such as fast food, cigarettes, excessive alcohol,, etc. Every extra cent those idiots have to pay is a cent I don't have to pay.
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isobars



Joined: 12 Dec 1999
Posts: 13792

PostPosted: Wed Mar 27, 2013 11:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

techno900 wrote:
Now, I do believe that there is global warming and that man generates a lot of co2, but how much of the global warming is a result of man's co2?

So my question - If man does everything possible to curtail co2 output, would it have an impact on global warming? Some - yes, but how much? No matter what the US does, unless China and a few other countries get on the bandwagon, little change will occur at the cost of many freedoms and huge expense. Some feel that we have to move ahead regardless of the cost and imposition on our freedoms, but I am not one of them, at least not yet..

You haven't read "Cool It". You'd love it. It very authoritatively puts this all in perspective. Its author, Lomborg, updates it quite often in the media. Of all the books I've read on AGW, from Gore's outright $#!+ to some of the very technical analyses of it, "Cool It" is easily the most practical and best supported comparison of AGW to mankind's other 20-something threats. Bottom line: both man and greenhouse gases are a problem, but the other 19 threats are worse, can actually BE fixed, are FAR cheaper to fix, and can be fixed in just one to ten years rather than only infinitesimally affected this century.
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coboardhead



Joined: 26 Oct 2009
Posts: 1908

PostPosted: Wed Mar 27, 2013 12:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

boggsman1 wrote:
Its happening again with GMO's. In 15-20 years , I'm afraid we will see the damage that GMO's have done to our bodies. In Europe, most countries require GMO labeling, not here, except Whole Foods Markets...so guess what? people dont eat foods containg GMO's in Europe, and they dont get produced there. In the US, labeling is NOT required, and they are everywhere. I'm afraid many illnesses will occur down the road, and again the system will foot the bill. History repeats.


This is another tough one. How does one quantify the risks of starvation vs potential risk of GMO? We are going to need to feed another 2 to 3 billion inhabitants before the population stabilizes. This, when are depleting ground water sources and warming the earth. Non-GMO foods may become a luxury item!

Techno...you write of the fear that we will loose our personal freedoms because of government regulations. But, there is a flip side to this. Prior to local regulations, a smoker here could light up a cigarette (practicing his freedom) in a restaraunt causing my allergy to cigarette smoke to kick in. His freedom cost me mine! This is the sort of thing where responsible government needs to be involved. Government should not tell folks they cannot smoke. But, subidizing the growing of tobacco, passing on health care costs of smoking and allowing smoking in public places are infringements on the freedoms of the citizens at large.
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