Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Smoking Bans are Killing People

In order to get smoking bans passed, it was necessary to create an atmosphere of hatred toward the “enemy,” to work people into a frenzy over a threat to their health, whether the threat was real or not. What mattered was not truth or science but whether the desired result—smoking bans—could be achieved. So truth and science were quickly sacrificed to the-end-justifies-the-means policy of anti-smoking organizations. Michael Seigel, MD, is both a medical doctor and public health official. He has 21 years experience in tobacco policy research and currently teaches at the Boston University School of Public Health. Though adamantly opposed to smoking, he says: “The anti-smoking movement is driven by an agenda—an agenda that will not allow science, sound policy analysis, the law, or ethics to get in its way.”

On December 12, 2006, he charged “Health and Anti-Smoking Groups' Claims are Making a Mockery of Secondhand Smoke Science.” He said “at least 38 health and anti-smoking groups are misleading the public”--including such well-known organizations as the American Lung Association, the American Cancer Society, and the American Heart Association. He charges them with “campaigns of deception.” On August 8, 2006, he noted that there were more than 80 “anti-smoking groups which continue to make fallacious scientific claims to the public about secondhand smoke.” Very, very few (we know of only two) have ever apologized or corrected past inaccuracies or ceased promulgating new ones. Siegel's website at www.tobaccoanalysis.blogspot.com details an astonishing array of lies, scientific misrepresentations and hypocrisy over the past two years by anti-smoking groups.

It should be remembered, too, that government agencies, such as the U.S. Surgeon General's office and EPA have been guilty of the same lies and fraudulent claims as the anti-smoking groups. While EPA claimed secondhand smoke was dangerous, the Congressional Research Service, at the request of the U.S. Congress, looked at the same data as EPA and concluded: “It is possible that very few or even no deaths can be attributed to ETS [environmental tobacco smoke].” Further, it stated that nonsmokers exposed to pack-a-day ETS every day for 40 years have “little or no risk of developing lung cancer”—much less dying from it. The CRS is part of the Library of Congress and has all the resources of that esteemed institution at its disposal. It is highly respected, nonpartisan, accepted by both Republicans and Democrats as fair and impartial, has no ties to tobacco companies, no regulatory or other agenda, and accepts no outside funding.

Then there was the Congressional Investigation by the U.S. House of Representatives. It found that EPA, in its study of secondhand smoke, was guilty of “conscious misuse of science and the scientific process to achieve a political agenda that could not otherwise be justified.” It also stated: “The agency has deliberately abused and manipulated scientific data in order to reach a predetermined, politically motivated result.”

(My previous postings have explained some of the scientific fraud, corruption of statistical standards, and deliberate misuse of data and misrepresentation of research studies. These can be found at: http://www.amlibpub.com/essays/secondhand-smoke-and-heart-disease.html,
http://www.amlibpub.com/essays/smoking-ban-of-meeker-county-minnesota.html, (includes a link to my complete testimony at Meeker County.)
http://www.amlibpub.com/essays/surgeon-general-trades-integrity-for.html. )

But the well-financed campaign of misinformation worked. The atmosphere of hatred for smoking and smokers became ever more virulent as the fraudulent claims of danger—which became ever more shrill and outrageous—were incessantly pumped into the public consciousness. “If you repeat a lie often enough, it becomes the truth.” The campaign against secondhand smoke was a perfect example of this policy, originally proclaimed by Joseph Goebbels, the Nazi propaganda minister.

But while the smoking ban activists claimed their aim to be a healthier society, the hatred they spawned and laws they achieved have been producing violence and death. Last week the Minneapolis Star Tribune carried an article headlined: “Man Charged with Severing Wife's Tongue and Windpipe.” It states that the man slashed her throat because she smoked a cigarette to celebrate her birthday. She is in critical condition, and he is being charged with attempted murder. There are many examples (see below) of such violence because of the hatred whipped up by the anti-smoking activists.

While secondhand smoke has not been shown to represent a statistically significant health risk according to classic biostatistical standards, deaths continue to mount from the very measures the activists have managed to enact in smoking bans. These include forcing people to smoke outside (where they aren't protected) or on rooftops, or out in the cold. Notice how many of these are included in the examples below:

Utah: A teenager was murdered for smoking in downtown Salt Lake City.
Ohio: Man Beaten To Death For Not Giving Up Cigarette. Ricardo Leon, 23, died.
UK: Nurse stabbed to death at hospital in an outside smoking area.
UK: man killed wife and two sons over her smoking. John Jarvis, 42, stabbed his wife Patricia in the heart and then murdered their sons, John, 11, and Stuart, eight.
Louisiana: Pregnant woman shot over cigarette. 18-year-old refused to stop smoking.
CA: A 21-year-old woman was stabbed several times early Saturday outside a Carlsbad home when she went outside to smoke a cigarette, police said.
California: Smoker Gunned Down. A gunman fatally shot a man outside a sports bar in unincorporated Hayward as the man took a cigarette break, authorities said Friday.
Illinois: Smoker Falls To Death. Ian Honeycutt, 28, of Glenview, tumbled from a ninth-floor apartment, blown off a window sill by a gust of wind while smoking. His aunt asked him not to smoke inside, police sources said.
Ireland: Eamonn Mulvenna, 20 year old victim died when he fell from a fire escape being used as a smoking area because of the ban.
Canada: A 65 year old smoker dies out in the cold.
Alabama: Smoker Attacked. He was standing in a parking lot, smoking a cigarette when he was attacked
New York. 60 year old man beaten unconscious for smoking.
Florida: Father Stabs Son Over Cigarette.
New Zealand: Abduction And Rape Of Smoking Woman. The incident proved people would be more vulnerable if they had to go outside and smoke, something Prime Minister Helen Clark had not thought of, he said.
Ireland: Three men had jaws broken as they smoked outside pubs in Sligo, Kilkenny and Dublin
Colorado: Bar Owner Blames Smoking Ban For Rape. A Pueblo bar owner says the smoking ban that forced his female employee outside is directly responsible for her rape.
Texas: Date Rape Pill Put in Drink, While Going Outside for Cigarette. Maria says she and two other friends stepped outside to smoke a cigarette. She says it was during that time that someone spiked her drink.
UK: A female backpacker fell 100 feet to her death from the roof of a hostel early yesterday. The 20-year-old Canadian plunged six storeys into a lane at around 3am. One theory is that she climbed onto the flat roof of the no-smoking Edinburgh Backpackers hostel for a cigarette.
Colorado: Courtney Chinn, 25, of Colorado Springs was shot and killed in an area near the Anchor Lounge where smokers congregate on September 20, 2003. [It is said] the problem of crime outside of bars where smokers gather will persist.
Africa: Baby sister killed in brothers' anti smoking crossfire. 3 Year Old Girl Dies In Smoking Ban War.
UK: Boy smoker hanged himself. A 12-year-old boy hanged himself with his school tie rather than admit to his parents that he had been caught smoking
Wisconsin: Girl kills herself after being caught with a cigarette.
Massachusetts: Melissa Pierce and Angela Aiello, after leaving the bar to smoke, were struck in the heads with a metal pipe. Richard Jervah of Lynn was pushed through a plate glass window. Arthur Brestovitsky was stabbed in the chest, face, and arm.
The above examples are from http://encyclopedia.smokersclub.com:80/4.html, which contains over a hundred examples of such violence. We didn't hear stories of these kinds of violence before the smoking ban activists started fomenting hatred with their holy war (jihad) against smoking. It's time for them to admit their dishonest, exaggerated policies about the danger of secondhand smoke are killing more people than secondhand smoke. There is no scientifically sound basis for concluding that ETS is even a carcinogen—all of the studies claiming the contrary depend on corruption of scientific procedures, debasing of time-honored statistical standards, and/or misrepresentation of research studies. In fact, as the Littlewood & Fennell report to the National Toxicology Program Board of Scientific Counselors on Carcinogens states: “Many studies show a negative correlation for ETS and lung cancer—implying a protective effect, especially for children.” And of the nine Bradford Hill tests for judging carcinogenicity, none supports the contention that ETS is a human carcinogen. But hiding this information from the public is part of the misinformation campaign of the activists. So is keeping the public in the dark about the relative risk (RR) of secondhand smoke. The latest Surgeon General's report puts this RR at 1.2 to 1.3—but the public isn't told that the municipal drinking water that tens of millions of U.S. citizens drink every day in thousands of U.S. cities has RRs of 2.0 to 4.0—which indicates far greater danger than secondhand smoke. If a RR of 1.3 was statistically significant and indicated a threat to human health, then tens of thousands of our citizens would be dying every year from drinking municipal water with its much higher risk. But where are these bodies? These fatalities are simply not occurring. Neither are those from secondhand smoke. (Claims to the contrary are based on assuming invalid cause-and-effect relationships from statistically insignificant RRs.) Furthermore, Dr. Siegel has pointed out that a recent study in the March issue of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention concludes that “even if all currently known and measured carcinogens in tobacco smoke were completely removed, there would be little reason to believe that there would be any observable reduction in smoking-related cancers.” As the independent health consultants Littlewood & Fennell put it, “the effort to 'prove' ETS is a human carcinogen is largely and activist/advocate effort...by avowed anti-smoking advocates determined to somehow prove that ETS is a human carcinogen in the face of irrefutable evidence to the contrary."

Once again, it is clear that, regardless of the good intentions of the jihadist do-gooders, lies and a belief that the end justifies the means simply do not work. They cannot make a safer world than truth, science and respect for individual rights--including property rights--of people causing no harm to others. Liberty is still the best answer--in fact, the only answer--to a better, safer society. But some people never learn; they keep trying to prove that force is better than freedom and individual rights. And their mistakes continue to be paid for with the blood and lives of innocent people.


Ben said...

Exactly my point of view. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Even the good intentions are questionable. Just follow the funding back.
Look up and see who'se funding quite a lot of the anti-tobacco activists. Quite a lot of the funding comes from one charitable foundation, which oddly enough owns 5-6 billion dollars worth of shares in a pharmacutical company.

The pharmacutical company, of course, sells a quite popular line in nicotine replacement products.

If they were a tobacco firm then they'd be hip deep in charity commisioners by now.

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this industry is, and how big the selection
is for these superb products is. What p*sses me off, though, are the growing number of articles in the major press saying
how bad they are. Apparently pharmaceutical companies - the manufacturers of smoking
cessation aids are funding an anti e-vape PR campaign - not so much the
cigarette firms (as you might suppose) - as many cigarette
companies are investing in them. I can FEEL the benefits of e cigarettes.
Just saying - that there is always a secret accord with large
corporations trying to prohibit ecigs ... the EU people should
do a lot more to help. This makes me so depressed.
Thanks "Smoking Bans are Killing People".

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