I recently saw this posted on social media; it caused quite a stir, with over 200 comments from people debating the veracity of the claims.
“It’s funny how people get outraged at parents putting their kids at risk by defying scientific fact and basic logic by not getting them vaccinated. Yet they still feed their kids red and processed meat, despite the fact that it is proven to cause as much cancer as smoking (plus a load of other health and environmental problems).
It’s amazing how people are so easily manipulated into making poor decisions based on social norms.
It’s also amazing that people find the idea of banning the consumption of red meat cadavers to under 18s wacky and mad. Ahh humans…how can we have come so far yet still be capable of being so illogical.
(Also if your first reaction to this is “bacon” you’re as unimaginative as you are daft.)”
It was later clarified that “despite the fact that it is proven to cause as much cancer as smoking” was meant in relative terms. i.e. One processed hamburger raises the risk of cancer roughly as much a 3 cigarettes. (This was given as an example rather than an actual equivalent measurement.)
Basically, the claim was that in equivalent terms, meat causes as much cancer as smoking. (i.e. Not the total cases of cancer as people get more carcinogens from smoking because they smoke a higher number of cigarettes.)
Dose the claim “processed meat causes as much cancer as smoking in relative terms” hold up to scrutiny?
The basis of this claim appears to be from claims made by the World Health organisation. As stated in this guardian article:
Bacon, ham and sausages rank alongside cigarettes as a major cause of cancer, the World Health Organisation has said, placing cured and processed meats in the same category as asbestos, alcohol, arsenic and tobacco.