Casualties Of The War On Smoking
CASUALTIES OF THE WAR ON SMOKING -TRUTH, FREEDOM, FAIRNESS, and CHILDREN.By Rosalind B. Marimont
In the War on Smoking, truth has been the first casualty. Junk science has replaced honest science, and propaganda parades as fact. By vastly overrating the dangers of tobacco, and neglecting those of alcohol and drugs, the Anti-Smoking Police (ASPs) have gravely distorted the proper priorites for our resources.
The "facts" now quoted as gospel by the ASPs are false. For example:
IT IS FALSE THAT SMOKING KILLS 400,000 AMERICANS ANNUALLY.
This Center for Disease Control (CDC) number is nothing but a computer-generated estimate by a program called SAMMEC, based on an erroneous model, ignoring all the rules of epidemiology, and vastly inflating the effects of smoking. For example, if Joe Smith is obese, has high cholesterol, diabetes, a family history of heart attacks, never exercises, smokes, and dies of a heart attack, the CDC attributes his death to smoking only! SAMMEC is also the basis for other scare numbers, such as that 3 million or 5 million of today's children will die from smoking.
IT IS FALSE THAT SMOKING IS A MAJOR DANGER TO CHILDREN. CHILDREN DO NOT DIE OF TOBACCO RELATED DISEASES.
If they smoke heavily they may die of lung cancer in their old age, 50 years from now, if lung cancer is still a threat. But now and this year they are dying by the thousands in accidents, suicides, and homicides, largely associated with drugs and alcohol. It is unconscionable to keep diverting resources to the far future tobacco threat and ignore the immediate drug and alcohol threat, which can kill them long before they can get cancer!
IT IS FALSE THAT SECOND HAND SMOKE (ETS) IS A PROVEN HEALTH DANGER.
The EPA report naming ETS as a class A carcinogen is a triumph of politics over science, and a symbol of corruption of science by government. The Congressional Research Service of the Library of Congress demolished their conclusions.
IT IS FALSE THAT TOBACCO IS MORE DANGEROUS THAN DRUGS OR ALCOHOL.
The CDC inflates the deaths from tobacco, and ignores the fact that tobacco is not an intoxicant, and alcohol and drugs are. Intoxicants destroy physical coordination, emotional restraint, and moral standards. Alcohol and drug abuse contribute to crime, violence, spouse abuse, child neglect, sexual promiscuity and sexually transmitted diseases. Nicotine does none of these things.
IT IS FALSE THAT SMOKERS ARE A FINANCIAL BURDEN TO SOCIETY.
Economists, with rare unanimity, have shown that smokers are not a net cost to the government, but a saving. Smokers pay heavy cigarette taxes, and also, because their life expectancy is somewhat less than non-smokers (by about 3 to five years), they collect less in social security, pensions, Medicare, and medicaid. A complete report on these economic matters was issued by the Congressional Research Service of the Library of Congress in March 1994.
IT IS FALSE THAT SMOKING HAS NO HEALTH BENEFITS AT ALL.
Smokers are less obese than non-smokers, and since obesity is a risk factor for heart disease, diabetes, and stroke, preventing obesity should count as a benefit in health reckoning. Nicotine also has an anti-depressant, anti-anxiety effect, improves alertness, attention, and concentration. There is increasing evidence that smoking tends to reduce incidence of Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases, and to ameliorate the symptoms of schizophrenia.But scientists in these fields have a great deal of trouble getting funding, because of ASP opposition to any good word for tobacco.
TELLING THE TRUTH
How have the ASPs managed to convince the American people that these falsehoods are true" They used Big Lie Technique, (Hitler's favorite), that people will believe anything if leaders repeat it often enough. They used mountains of junk statistics, which are difficult to understand by the laypeople, and easy to manipulate by "experts." And worst of all, they mercilessly suppressed criticism by honest scientists, whom they branded as dishonest tools of the tobacco companies. Theodor Sterling, a fellow of the American College of Epididemiology, wrote a tongue-in-cheek piece showing that the CDC method could be used to prove that NOT SMOKING caused 270,000 deaths a year. He wrote a serious paper showing that by use of only 2 honest corrections to the CDC work, the number of purported smoking deaths could be cut in half. Sterling was blasted by the ASP guru Stanton Glantz, whose economic work has recently been demolished by the economist Michael Evans.
The Federal Health establishment, controlling a vast portion of biomedical research money, has the power to deny grants and end the careers of scientists who oppose the ASPs' corruption of science. In fact, censorship has gone so far that many American journals will not publish or even review papers by authors who receive any money from tobacco interests!
POLITICAL OFFENSES OF THE WAR ON SMOKING
Politicization of science, treated by David Tell ("Pack of Lies", Weekly Standard, June 16) and by me in a letter to the Standard (July 7) is not the only offense of the War on Smoking.
ABUSE OF POWER
The tactics of the attorneys-general against the tobacco companies are a serious abuse of government power. Read Michael Kelly's scathing New Republic TRB editorial (July 14-21).
GREED AND UNFAIRNESS
Robert J Samuelson (Washington Post, July 2, OP ED) showed how a group of private attorneys planned, financed, and directed the suit, which will earn billions for them - "How they hijacked the public policy for private enrichment is the little-told story of the tobacco settlement." The increased cigarette taxes are regressive and unfair. Paul Gigot, in the Wall Street Journal (June 27, OP ED) revealed that Hugh Rodham, President Clinton's brother-in-law, and Richard Scruggs, Trent Lott's brother in law, are members of the greedy lawyers' group.
The War on Smoking, which started with a germ of truth - that smoking is a high risk factor for lung cancer, has grown into a monster of deceit, tyranny, and greed, further eroding the credibility of the government, and harming our health and welfare. The true dangers to our society, are crime, violence, family breakdown, and out of wedlock births, none of which arises from smoking, but from alcohol and drug abuse, lack of moral values, and poverty.
Rosalind B. Marimont
© All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission.
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