Here’s a piece by Mike Adams from 2006 that holds water in explaining absolute risk versus relative risk:
Which drug would you rather take? One that reduces your risk
of cancer by 50 percent, or another drug that only eliminates
cancer in one out of 100 people? Most people would choose
the drug that reduces their risk of cancer by 50 percent, but
the fact is, both of these numbers refer to the same drug.
They’re just two different ways of looking at the same statistic.
One way is called relative risk; the other way is absolute risk.
Here’s how it works: Let’s say that in a trial involving 100
people, two people would normally get breast cancer during
the trial duration, but when all 100 people are put on the drug,
only one person gets breast cancer, meaning the reduction of
breast cancer is one person out of 100. Yet the
pharmaceutical industry will exclaim that the relative risk
reduction is 50 percent because one is 50 percent of two. In
other words, the risk is cut in half from a relative point of view.