Cancer Link

How many times have we seen headlines like that? Surely, the only answer is “too many”.

In the linked article, the BBC proports that semi-anonymous researchers have done a study. They found

Those who had used the phone against one side of the head for several hours a day were 50% more likely to have developed a salivary gland tumour.

Without looking into the details of the research, I can only say – “Oh stop. Enough.” Just look at the way that line is written. If your odds of getting a salivatry gland tumor was 0.00001%, then double that, and you still should not worry yourself.

And that’s the point. The article may be 100% true and accurate and still be scare mongering (which makes it a worthless article). The scare mongering itself makes the article more dangerous than the affliction its concerned about.

I’m more upset than that, actually, at the real evil such articles have done over the years and continue to do. Take smoking, for instance.

I don’t smoke, and was never tempted by The Taste of Kent or The Marboro Man to start. I also wasn’t worried about getting cancer in 30 years. Why not? Because I knew far too many people who had smoked for long lifetimes (including my grandparents) who didn’t die of cancer.

I didn’t smoke because by the age of 60, they all looked ancient. In those days, 60 was ancient. The reason they were so old looking (and acting) was the smoking and drinking routinely done in decades past. It didn’t kill them – it made young people old. That’s a reason for teens not to smoke, not some hyped small possibility poorly touted in a newspaper that practices daily innumeracy.

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