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Other than buying and using their products
We are engaged in another Civil War. Not as open, not as bloody, not as lethal as the first one, but a civil war nevertheless. Or perhaps it would be better to call it an un-civil war since feelings run high between the factions and rhetoric on both sides can get nasty at times.
The country is polarized between two camps: the anti-tobacco camp in favor of controls and restrictions on the tobacco industry as well as on smokers themselves, and those in favor of civil liberties and freedom of choice and action, including the freedom to smoke if you so choose.
To a great extent the Tobacco War is taking place underground in the sense that those not directly involved are more or less unaware of the skirmishes and battles taking place. The only news they receive from the front is that provided by the mass media which, as should become amply evident in the following pages, has been shanghaied into the service of one side of the conflict and consequently is not providing balanced, unbiased reporting.
The anti-smoking crusade gets a great deal of press these days. The other side hardly any. One of the reasons for this is the media fixation on negative stories. They love to scare us with warnings about the dangers of this or that. Just listen to the nightly news. If it isn't the cars we drive it's what we eat and drink or the germs in the bathroom or on the kitchen counter. Anything that might spook us.
So the health hazards associated with smoking are prime fodder and the efforts to stamp it out and reach a "smoke free America by 2000" news worthy. After all, the media loves a war... both sides of which usually get covered, but not in this case.
Another reason the anti-smoking crusade gets the lion's share of coverage is the effect political correctness is having on politics and the media. In today's climate only the anti-tobacco stance is "politically correct." Both politicians and media people seem to be afraid of offending the PCers, thus incurring their wrath by giving any credence to the other side of the story. Even Letters-to-the-Editor from the politically incorrect view rarely if ever get published.
Nobody stops to ask, why be politically correct when you could be right.
The documents gathered here, primarily from the internet, present various facets of the tobacco war and indicate that numerous problems of a serious nature indeed do exist and are not simply a matter of paranoia on the part of one or two individuals.
Readers can judge for themselves if objections to the anti-smoking crusade are something only a disgruntled smoker could or would feel and, on the other hand, if the devious tactics outlined here are something that will be limited to only the campaign against tobacco or if the threat of their spreading to other areas of social life is a real danger to our personal freedoms.
"In the war on smoking, truth has been the first casualty. Junk science has replace honest science, and propaganda parades as fact. By vastly overstating the dangers of tobacco, and by neglecting those of alcohol and drugs, the Anti-Smoking Partisans (ASP's) have gravely distorted the proper priorities for our resources. The 'facts' now quoted as gospel by the ASP's are false."
Rosiland B. Marimont in "Casualties of the War on Smoking: Truth, Freedom, Fairness and Children"
Elliot Liff, M.D. in a letter to the editor, San Francisco Chronicle
The dictionary defines conspiracy as: 1.) the act of conspiring together, 2.) an agreement among conspirators.
It defines conspire as: 1.)to join in a secret agreement to do an unlawful or wrongful act or to use such means to accomplish a lawful end, 2.)to act in harmony toward a common end.
So, as the following pages should indicate, the anti-tobacco crusade qualifies as a conspiracy on all counts, including secrecy.
While the tobacco industry has been accused of "conspiracy to kill people," those opposed to its use have certainly banded together, both openly as well as underground, to use every means at their disposal to totally destroy the industry, "the last of the evil empire" according to William D. Novelli, spokesman for the National Center for Tobacco-Free Kids.
According to an article in the September, 1978 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), "Smokers shouldn't be helped, they should be eliminated." Such rhetoric is perilously close to suggestions of an ideological cleansing, even genocide. In any case, it set the tone for the subsequent battle.
There are countless so-called private coalitions working toward the goal of eradicating tobacco from society and numerous governmental agencies which not only have a direct role in controlling tobacco and its use but some of which covertly fund some of the private groups, which makes them in effect sub-agencies and arms of government policy.
With this kind of manpower and financial resources it is reasonable to speak of a conspiracy aimed at the tobacco industry and its clientele.
The great rallying cry is Public Health. A noble sounding purpose, but in practice it entails many ignoble actions such as shoddy research studies, unsubstantiated claims, outright lies, unwarranted expenditure of tax money and, as we shall see, even censorship of its undertakings to keep intelligence from enemy eyes. "Top Secret" rubber stamping in action again.
There is a difference between private health and public health -- a difference anti-smoking advocates refuse to recognize. Their assertion that ETS is a serious and thoroughly documented danger has been debunked many times, yet they cling to it as a way of justifying governmental meddling in private lives, something that is legitimate only in the case of Public Health.
Traditionally Public Health has been concerned with such things as sanitation, control of communicable diseases, personal hygiene education and the organization of early diagnosis and prevention of diseases that require coordinated community control.
The fact that the anti-smoking drive for Public Health involves the trampling of the civil rights of private citizens is ignored. Smokers have become the one minority which can be "legally" discriminated against with impunity. If they tried to single out black smokers or women smokers they would be jumped on immediately, but all smokers -- go get em!
So ask not what your country can do for you, ask what your country can do to you.
When I first saw the initials ETS (standing for "Environmental Tobacco Smoke") I thought maybe they stood for "Extra-Terrestrial Smoke." Turned out that wasn't the case, but maybe the anti-tobacco fanatics should start preparing a program in the event that the search for intelligent life on other planets actually turns up something.
It needn't be a technical or highly complicated policy. All they need in order to "protect the children" in case such contact is made are two simple principles:
1. Determine if smoking is permitted on the foreign planet.
2. If it is "just say no" to any communication with them.
This should reassure even the most extreme elements among the tobacco control advocates that our planet is safe from the alleged dangers of second hand smoke.
The term "alleged" is appropriate since the supposed threat has been not only pretty repeatedly discounted but the "scientific" studies supporting it criticised or condemned.
Numerous eminent scientists have expressed skepticism about the 1993 EPA classification of ETS as a human carcinogen -- men such as Epidemiologist Dimitrios Trichopoulus of Harvard's School of Public Health, Alvan Feinstein of Yale Medical School and Dr. Philippe Shubik, editor in chief of "Teratogenesis Carcinogenesis and Metagenesis."
Where will it all end? If the intolerant, narrow minded gang get their way, in a totalitarian state similar to Nazi Germany... which, as few people seem to know, had what was perhaps the earliest and certainly the most repressive anti-tobacco programs in history back in the 1930's. (More on this later.) Is THAT the direction we want to go?
Still the anti-tobacco zealots are so desperate to find data to justify their totalitarian goals that they have made efforts to connect smoking with almost any malady imaginable from cervical cancer and breast cancer to birth defects, sudden infant death syndrome, ulcers, Alzheimer's disease, chromosome anomalies, osteoporosis, thromboembolism, multiple myeloma, even deafness!! And the witch hunt goes on.
From the start those in the anti-smoking crusade have been guilty of poor science, deception, distortion and outright lying on behalf of their cause. A prime instance of this is the Second Hand Smoke scam which received such publicity and created such hysteria. Just about everyone heard about the EPA report released in January, 1993. It received major coverage in the media and triggered the hysteria over smoking in general that has been raging ever since.
Titled "Respiratory Health Effects of Passive Smoking" -- this report could be called "The Blank Shot Heard Around the World." In so far as it received such headlines and media coverage it could be considered the beginning of what has become known as The Tobacco War in its present manic form.
Of course, in the media's haste to frighten us and/or be politically correct, some facts fell through the cracks. Did you know, for instance, that:
In November, 1997, the Congressional Research Service (CRS -- An independent 741 member think tank that works exclusively for Congress.) rebutted this highly touted EPA report on the dangers of second hand smoke?
That even The World Health Organization (long time anti-smoking advocates) also debunked the study?
That the Wall Street Journal, hardly a radical rag, reported on the EPA study under the headline, "Smoking Out Bad Science"?
That Investor's Business Daily did the same in an April 8, 1998 article, "The Data That Went Up In Smoke" in which it characterized the EPA study as "Junk Science"?
Or were you aware of these positive findings regarding smoking?
That contrary to the findings of reports blared by the anti-smokers, a review of medical studies by P.N. Lee ("Smoking and Alzheimer's Disease: A Review of the Epidemiological Evidence, published in Neuroepidemiology, 1994) found that 15 out of 18 studies showed that smoking significantly reduced the risk of Alzheimer's disease while a review by Dr. John A. Baron not only concurred with Lee's findings but and added, "...smoking may actually be a protective exposure." ("Cigarette smoking and Parkinson's disease," published in Neurology 1986)
Similar studies have concluded that smoking also decreases the likelihood of falling prey to Parkinson's disease and that there are indications of similar effects on ulcerative colitis.
This sort of news is largely ignored or downplayed by the media in the one-sided coverage resulting from their race to get on board the politically correct bandwagon. Hardly objective reporting.
In the meantime it is worth pointing out the faulty methodology and PR used by the anti-smoking zealots. They have been, and are, prone to using biased science, withholding information, lying and even censorship (see later section for their Cancer research plans known as the "Censored" papers). In their ardor to outlaw smoking some of them are even willing to contribute to the disintegration of American liberties by proposing changes to the Constitution and pertinent amendments thereof.
Some have no compunction against emotionally loaded if inaccurate rhetoric, such as calling ETS "toxic waste."
This, it is claimed, is all information the public needs to be aware of in defending everyone's freedoms of choice and action, even if they are non-smokers. The threat is real and it is virulent.
Originally and sometimes still referred to as "Second Hand Smoke" (SHS), it later became known also as "Environmental Tobacco Smoke" (ETS). It is the cumulative smoke in the air when a person is smoking, either that exhaled by a smoker or coming directly from a lit cigarette. Its potential danger to non-smokers has been hotly debated for years.
Circa 1992 - Stanton Glantz, professor of medicine at University of California, San Francisco, filed a report with EPA claiming 53-56,000 deaths per year are attributable to ETS.
January, 1993 - EPA releases its report, "Respiratory Health Effects of Passive Smoking" based on a meta analysis of 11 separate studies (Glantz not included -- they never endorsed his work). It uses a figure of 3,000 deaths per year attributable to ETS.
November 14, 1995 - CRS files Library of Congress report 95-1115 SPR in which it rejects EPA and 3 other studies as not statistically significant and tainted by poor research and analysis. For instance, EPA found 119 lung cancers among non-smoking spouses where 100 would have been expected. This equals a risk ratio of 1.19. Anything below 2.0 is generally considered statistically insignificant.
The CRS report was produced in response to an OSHA ruling that would ban smoking in Federal workplaces. It found no basis for such a ban.
1996 - November 11, Glantz capitulates, accepting the 3,000 figure.
The American Heart Association wants to attribute 50,000 fatal heart attacks per year to ETS.
It would not be until mid-1998 that a Federal judge handed down an opinion siding with the tobacco industry on the issue and the tide shifted a bit on the ETS issue. (See the BACKLASH section.)
Anyone familiarizing themselves with the tobacco debate, whether smoker or anti-smoker, soon comes to recognize the name of Stanton A. Glantz, the man who alleged that 53,000 deaths resulting from second-hand smoke occurred annually a figure totally discredited and later even recanted by Glantz himself, but one which helped instigated the hysteria over second-hand smoke.
He is also the man who has stated openly that his intention is to destroy the tobacco industry and has compared the tobacco industry to Timothy McVeigh who bombed the Federal building in Oklahoma City killing 168 people; typical of the wild rhetoric employed by Mr. Glantz.
So just who is Stanton A. Glantz?
In 1961 he graduated from the University of Cincinnati's Aerospace Engineering school. In 1973 he received a PhD in Applied Mechanics and Economics from Stanford. In 1977 he completed a postdoctoral Fellowship in Cardiology at University of California, San Francisco. He is presently a professor of medicine at the same institution.
He is also a loose cannon in the tobacco debate.
As a posting on FORCES pro-smoking website put it: "Nowadays, in order to become a national hero and a media pet you just have to hold some degree, wave the fascist flag, and speak against tobacco. We can only conclude that living in the political sewers for twenty years has finally paid off for the perpetrators, now that the sewers have ruptured into the political streets of United States, and Canada."
But his ETS claim is not the only time Glantz has stubbed his toe. He has been involved in many gaffes and reports attacked by cooler minds. For instance:
Dr. Michael K. Evans, one of the nation's most respected economists, accused Glantz of misrepresenting data and reaching an unwarranted conclusion on the proposition that 100% Smoke-Free restaurants ordinances had no negative economic impact on the restaurant economy. He concluded that the study was flawed to the point of being unusable and appeared to have been designed to mislead elected officials.
A Sacramento court issued a restraining order against Glantz for destroying documents in the above case and required him to show why he should not be held in contempt of court. It also charged him with unauthorized use of University of California resources for political lobbying, electioneering and private political activities, and of using his time on the University payroll to do so.
Glantz was "Principal Investigator" on a project of The National Cancer Institute which has characteristics strange enough to arouse suspicions in this age of government distrust. Namely, CENSORSHIP. (He is also listed as a participant in at least 4 other research grants.)
This bizarre document doesn't seem to even have a proper title and is sometimes identified simply as "The CENSORED study."
The investigators propose to collect a combination of qualitative and quantitative information documenting the activities of the tobacco industry as well as those of tobacco control advocates and public officials. A significant proportion of the proposed work will be completed in California. However, substantial data collection efforts are also being proposed for Massachusetts and less extensive efforts in four other states -- Colorado, Washington, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey.
The proposed project is a series of five related, but relatively discrete, efforts:
* 1. Continue to collect and analyze data on tobacco industry electoral and lobbying activity in California and extend this effort to five other states.
* 2. Collect and analyze all tobacco control legislation introduced in the California Assembly and Senate since 1975, develop a legislative history for each bill, evaluate the impact of such legislation on tobacco control advocates and the part the tobacco industry played in the development of the legislation.
* 3. Prepare detailed case histories of the passage and implementation of California's Proposition 99 and Massachusetts' Question 1.
* 4. Prepare three in-depth case studies (one per year) of tobacco industry and health community activities relating to local tobacco control (most likely to be sites in California)
* 5. Document the role of the tobacco industry in the creation and further development of the Smokers' Rights movement and examine its social and ideological message and political consequences for tobacco control.
The first two of these specific aims are relatively unchanged from the original submission. The third effort has been narrowed to focus only on California and Massachusetts (as opposed to all states), and the final two specific aims are new to this revised application, replacing two aims that were contained in the original submission.
The research will be conducted out of the Institute for Health Policy Studies at the University of California, San Francisco.
"RESUME: This revision of an application from the University of California, San Francisco, is - CENSORED - responsive to the prior review. This project targets the - CENSORED - activities of the tobacco industry and suggests both short-and long-term applications for tobacco policy and use/control. The proposed research addresses a - CENSORED - public health problem though an - CENSORED - - CENSORED - methodology. The experience of the research team, its preliminary work, and the meshing of quantitative and qualitative data are - CENSORED - of this - CENSORED - application. A discussion of representativeness of women and minorities is not in this application, and reviewers believe the issue is... NEXT 1 1/2 LINES CENSORED"
All in all the document contains not only many CENSORED items but page after page CENSORED in their entirety. So just what is "Principle Investigator" Stanton Glantz up to?
After all, the study was made possible by a grant issued by the US Department of Health and Human Services. Yet efforts to find out about this through the Freedom of Information Act were fruitless. In rejecting the request the National Cancer Institute said of the original grant applicants that, "They usually do not want material that applicants believe would harm them if released."
No wonder citizens no longer trust their government.
At the Seventh World Conference on Tobacco and Health held in Perth, Australia in 1990, Stanton Glantz gave the keynote address in which he said, among other things:
"The main thing the science has done on the issue of ETS, in addition to help people like me pay mortgages, is it has legitimized the concerns that people have that they don't like cigarette smoke. And that is a strong emotional force that needs to be harnessed and used. We're on a roll, and the bastards are on the run. And I urge you to keep chasing them." (Emphasis added)
For one paragraph at least Mr. Glantz told the truth: He's in the thing to pay his mortgage and, all the bad science and propaganda claims aside, the basic fact behind the tobacco war is that some people simply don't like cigarette smoke.
Criticizing their "scientific" reporting of the smoking issue.
June 19, 1996
Mr. Steve LaphamLetters to Editor
Dear Mr. Lapham,
Part of the American scientific community is excommunicating a group of its members - ostensibly those who accept research money from tobacco companies (Report, "Tobacco Money Lights up a Debate", Jon Cohen, Science, 26 April, 1996). The anti-smoking crusaders (ASC), led by Stanton Glantz, have won again. In a long and brilliantly effective campaign, the ASC have transformed the discussion of a public health issue into a holy war against smoking. To do this they have established 3 major dicta.
(1) Smoking kills 440,000 Americans annually.
(2) Environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) kills 50,000 Americans annually.
(3) Anyone who questions the validity of (1) or (2) is a tool of the tobacco industry.
(3) is necessary because serious scientists recognize that (1) is questionable and
Good scientists encourage criticism of their results. By honest give and take they refine their theories and advance knowledge. The ASCs, unable to defend their often shoddy science, have changed the subject to attacking the tobacco industry and impugning the motives of scientists who accept its funding. THE REAL OR ALLEGED EVILDOING OF THE TOBACCO INDUSTRY IS IRRELEVANT TO THE PUBLIC POLICY DISCUSSION OF THE DANGERS OF SMOKING. No money will corrupt an honest scientist, and Federal money (Stanton Glantz' specialty) will corrupt a dishonest scientist as thoroughly as tobacco money.
The war on smoking has obviously become part of political correctness, or the American form of Lysenkoism. Lysenkoism, the subjugation of science to ideology, is named for Trofim Lysenko, Stalin's favorite scientist, who suppressed all genetic research in the Soviet Union and damaged Soviet science and agriculture for decades. It is easy to see why genetic research should be anathema to Stalinists, but can anyone enlighten me as to why smoking is the abomination of the politically correct?
Russell Baker, in his Observer column on the anti-smoking crusade (NY Times, May 31, 1994) noted that "crusades typically start by being admirable, proceed by being foolish, and end by being dangerous." In my opinion, the stages of the anti-tobacco crusade were:
(1) Admirable - demonstrating the relationship of primary smoking to lung cancer.
(2) Foolish - claiming that ETS is a serious health hazard.
(3) Dangerous - stifling dissent by defaming the opposition.
Defaming one's critics is a durable technique of crusaders, from Lysenko in the USSR to our own Salem witch hunters, Senator Joe McCarthy, and now Stanton Glantz and his fellow ASCs.
If Glantz' lucrative and effective propaganda has been able to harm the career of so distinguished an epidemiologist as Theodore Sterling, I can see why young scientists are afraid to protest. But where are the leaders of the AAAS, or other retirees, like me, who are free speak out? For 37 years I was proud to be a Federal government scientist, first at NBS (now NIST) and then NIH. The 1993 EPA report was merely embarrassing, but the current surrender to Lysenkoism is shameful and frightening.
Rosalind B. Marimont
Rosalind B. Marimont is a retired mathematician and scientist, having done research and development for NIST (or the Bureau of Standards (NBS), as it was then) for 18 years, until 1960, and NIH for another 19, until her retirement in 1979. She started in electronics defense work during World War II at NBS, then went on to the logical design of the early digital computers during the fifties. In 1960, she moved to NIH, and there studied and published papers on human vision, speech, and other biomathematical subjects. Since her retirement she has been active in health policy issues - first, the treatment of chronic pain by integrated mind/body methods, and second, the dishonest war on smoking which has corrupted scientific research and gravely distorted the nation's health priorities. For more than fifty years she has written, read and evaluated many kinds of scientific studies, and has sometimes served as a reviewer for scientific journals.
The "official" stance on secondhand smoke has been refuted time after time, by reputable study after reputable study and yet, as late as July 16, 1998 the City of Los Angeles brought a $2.5 billion against 15 tobacco companies for breaking a state environmental law by failing to warn the public about the dangers of secondhand smoke.
What do they want -- besides $2.5 billion -- another label on cigarette packages in addition to the Surgeon General's warning parroting their erroneous view of ETS?
Federal, state, county and city litigations one following another. How about allowing every individual constituent to bring consecutive suits? That way they could stretch out the proceedings ad infinitum and let everybody get a cut.
Who are these people anyway, that they should presume to tell anyone how to live their lives? Three types can be identified: Bluenoses, cranks and con men. Each have their own addictions.
The first come at you with moral superiority, the second with legal schemes and the third with tax plans.
Bluenoses want you to live a clean life, free of vices, self determination and tobacco, because it's "the thing to do." Their addictions are propriety, seemliness and health.
Let he who is free of sin cast the first stone, you say? Stand back and be amazed at how many sinless there are among us.
The cranks are schemers, often legal eagles who busy themselves contriving ways to help/force you follow the edicts of the bluenoses. But for their addiction to rhetoric and legislation some of them might be bluenoses themselves.