Tag: #causality

Talking Tuesday, Korea Edition: Smoking Causes Cancer (On Average)



Greetings and salutations form the wonderful city of Seoul, Korea. It’s the Korea without the labor camps and despotic dictator-for-life, maybe. (Most dictators are for life, I hear.)

Here are 4 minutes of me giving you a quick thought about causality and how smoking causes cancer. I was sitting in a courtyard at one of Seoul’s palaces and recorded this. A friend and colleague back home said that there was a discussion in a class on whether we, epidemiologists, can say that “smoking causes cancer” or if we should instead say that “smoking increases your risk of lung and other cancers”. She and I agree that we should say that smoking causes cancer, period, when talking about smoking to the public. If you throw in words like “chances” or “probability” or even “risk”, the message gets confused. Individuals within the population start asking for their specific risk, or they think that other things they do minimize the risk. (Some people have told me that they won’t get lung cancer from smoking because they run marathons.)

So that’s the very quick Talking Tuesday for this week. I’ll be back home next week. All my pictures here in Korea are being uploaded to Flickr at: https://www.flickr.com/photos/epi_ren/sets/72157648495180885/

You can download this episode by clicking here.

The Next Paradigm Shift in How We Think About Causality

If you paid attention in history class, you may remember that there was a time when we didn’t really know what caused diseases in humans and animals. We used to think that diseases were curses from the gods or the actions of demons and spirits. Because disease was so mysterious, we gave it a fantastical origin. Then came the scientists.…