Causal Inference

Student Role

You have just begun your internship at the Epiville Department of Health (DOH) and are looking forward to getting some "real world" Epi experience. Your supervisor, head of the Epiville Department of Health, Dr. Morissa Zapp, gives you a quick tour of the Department and apologizes for seeming hurried and distracted, but the Epiville Attorney General's Office has asked for her advice on a class action lawsuit they are thinking of pursuing. Dr. Zapp informs you that you will be doing the background research on this project. She arranges for you to meet with the Attorney General in his office.

The Attorney General, Mike Broomberg, wants your help. According to the EDOH, the prevalence of smoking in Epiville among youths has been increasing in the past few years. He has long suspected that exposure to images in television and the movies that portray smoking as "cool" may be part of the reason for this increase. Additionally, he has just come across a study purporting to show an association between television watching and the initiation of smoking among children ( click here for the study ). Based on this study, Mr. Broomberg is thinking of bringing a class action lawsuit against the television networks to recover medical costs to the city associated with teenage smoking. He wants your opinion about whether the evidence presented by the article is sufficient to make the claim that television watching is a cause of smoking initiation.