Environment & Climate News
Environment & Climate News (E&CN) is a monthly publication of the Heartland Institute, a Chicago-based corporate funded think tank. Although it describes itself as an "outreach publication for common-sense environmentalism," in fact it consistently takes positions contrary to those of most environmental organizations.
Sample headlines from E&CN's June 2005 issue exemplify its anti-environmentalist leanings:
- "Alaska Disputes EPA Mercury Guidelines" argues that "the federal government's precautionary approach to mercury may be causing state residents more harm than good."
- "EPA Approves Chemical Control of Aquatic Weeds" begins, "Local governments and private individuals should not be required to obtain a special environmental permit prior to applying chemicals to control invasive aquatic weeds and other pests..."
- "Analysis: Oil Refineries Not Damaging Houston's Air Quality"
- "Blue-Ribbon Government Panel Lauds Nuclear Energy"
- "Survey Shows Climatologists Are Split on Global Warming"
- "Solar Power: Too Good to Be True"
Case study: Apologizing for tobacco
In August 2003, E&CN published a piece by editor James N. Taylor, titled "Secondhand Smoke Fears Overstated, Study Finds." According to Taylor,
- A 38-year study of Californians, begun by the American Cancer Society and concluded by the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA), has concluded that secondhand smoke has little if any negative impact on mortality.
- The study, published in the May 17 issue of the British Medical Journal, throws cold water on the efforts of state and local governments to ban smoking in restaurants and other public places in the name of public health.
However, Taylor's piece deceptively omitted important facts needed to assess the validity of the study:
- The study's authors, James E. Enstrom and Geoffrey Kabat, have both worked for the tobacco industry and its front groups. Gene Borio's Tobacco.org website has compiled a list of tobacco industry documents that detail Enstrom's industry ties. 
- The study was not "begun by the American Cancer Society," and in fact the ACS has condemned it as a "tobacco industry study" that engages in "inaccurate use of data." Funded by the Center for Indoor Air Research, the Enstrom/Kabat study uses data taken from the American Cancer Society's Cancer Prevention Study I (CPS-I). However, ACS researchers point out that the Enstrom/Kabat methodology is unreliable, because its "analysis is based on a small subset (10%) of the CPS-I data" and also "suffers from a critical design flaw: the inability to distinguish people who were exposed to secondhand smoke from those who were not." 
To buttress his claims, Taylor goes on to quote other "experts," who like himself hail from industry-funded front groups: Jacob Sullum of Reason magazine; and Kimberly Bowman of the American Council on Science and Health. He concludes by claiming that other new medical research suggests that the nicotine in tobacco may prevent Alzheimer's disease. This, too, is misleading. Some studies have found that patients with Alzheimer's Disease are more likely not to have smoked than the general population, which has been interpreted to suggest that smoking offers some protection against Alzheimer's. However, the research in this area is limited and the results are mixed, with some studies showing that smoking increases the risk of Alzheimer's. A recent review of the available scientific literature concluded that the apparent decrease in Alzheimer's risk may be simply due to the fact that smokers tend to die before reaching the age at which Alzheimer's normally occurs. "Differential mortality is always likely to be a problem where there is a need to investigate the effects of smoking in a disorder with very low incidence rates before age 75 years, which is the case of Alzheimer's disease", it stated, noting that smokers are only half as likely as non-smokers to survive to the age of 80. 
- James M. Taylor, Managing Editor
Articles and Resources
- Osvaldo P. Almeida, Gary K. Hulse, David Lawrence and Leon Flicker, "Smoking as a risk factor for Alzheimer's disease: contrasting evidence from a systematic review of case-control and cohort studies," Addiction, Volume 97, Issue 1, Page 15 - January 2002.
- "American Cancer Society Condemns Tobacco Industry Study for Inaccurate Use of Data" (news release), American Cancer Society, May 15, 2003.
- James E. Enstrom and Geoffrey C. Kabat, "Environmental tobacco smoke and tobacco related mortality in a prospective study of Californians, 1960-98," British Medical Journal, May 17, 2003.
- Jon Krueger, "Enstrom and the Tobacco Industry," Tobacco.org, May 20, 2003.
- "Responding to the Enstrom and Kabat Study on Secondhand Smoke," Americans for Nonsmokers' Rights, November 2004.