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swhitt's picture


Just stopping by for a minute to quickly weigh in on Anne's questions about the influence of statistics on my personal choices. I've been a smoker for the past ten or so years, with occasional 6-12 month breaks.  My plan was to quit when I turn thirty (a doctor once told me that the mortality rates of smokers who quit by thirty return to normal - although emphysema rates remain higher). In both cases, the statistics reenforce my habit (I don't need to quit just yet and maybe not at all).  At the same time, there must be mountains of contrary reports I have forgotten or ignored or dismissed (who can really know the things these numbers claim? Surely there is too much room for error and personal bias :).  Just as my interpretations of coincidence tend to reenforce my life views, the statistics I choose to accept often support the choices I have made/want to make.


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