Statistics for Cigarette Sellers

Part 1: The Journalist

Remember How to Lie with Statistics? It turns out the author worked for the cigarette companies. Historian Robert Proctor, in his book, Golden Holocaust: Origins of the Cigarette Catastrophe and the Case for Abolition, writes:

Darrell Huff, author of the wildly popular (and aptly named) How to Lie with Statistics, was paid to testify before Congress in the 1950s and then again in the 1960s, with the assigned task of ridiculing any notion of a cigarette-disease link. On March 22, 1965, Huff testified at hearings on cigarette labeling and advertising, accusing the recent surgeon general’s report of myriad failures and “fallacies.” Huff peppered his attack with amusing asides and anecdotes, lampooning spurious correlations like that between the size of Dutch families and the number of storks nesting on rooftops—which proves not that storks bring babies but rather that people with large families tend to have larger houses (which therefore attract more storks).

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