No, Don’t #BreakUpWithBacon: Campaign Targets D.C. With Bad Science

How can you compare bacon with cigarettes?
( PORK )

Misinformation is again waging war against bacon. A quarter-million-dollar ad campaign that launched this fall on TV, radio and bus kiosks in Washington, D.C., claims there are health risks to eating bacon and other processed meats.

The campaign is being paid by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine—a D.C.-based nonprofit that does research and advocacy work, according to The Washington Post. The ads include the slogan #BreakUpWithBacon.

How Can You Compare Bacon With Cigarettes?

Neal Barnard, founder of Physicians Committee, compared people’s weakness for bacon to cigarettes, and tobacco’s contribution to lung cancer, the leading cause of cancer deaths in the U.S.

The campaign references a 2015 report from the World Health Organization that lists the carcinogenicity of various products—from bacon to paint and sunshine—and has widely drawn criticism from other health organizations.

Still, that doesn’t change the tactics from activists. “Cigarettes taste good, but we grow up and realize it’s not healthy,” Barnard told the Post. “We have to grow up and set aside these adolescent behaviors that are not great for us.”

Colorectal cancer, the second-leading cause of cancer deaths, is on rise for people under 55 years old. Barnard and supporters say the main reason is eating processed meats such as bacon, sausage, ham and pepperoni.

As Humane Watch reports, “No sensible person would claim that eating bacon is as likely to cause cancer as smoking. According to the New York Times, smoking “raises a person’s lifetime risk of developing lung cancer by a staggering 2,500 percent.” Consuming bacon on the other hand—according to the WHO’s standards—translates to less than a one percent increase in the lifetime risk for colorectal cancer. That also means cutting bacon from your diet likely won’t have a huge impact on your cancer risk.