FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Is FORCES a smokers' association?
No. Although smoking is the dominant issue and most of its members are
smokers, our group is not limited to smoking. FORCES fights the
philosophy of healthism and the therapeutic state that is
based on it.
What does FORCES mean?
FORCES is an acronym for Fight
Smoking, which was (and still is)
its original purpose. However, due to the expansion of the Therapeutic
State, our organization has also expanded its scope. Created in 1995,
the group has expanded in many American states and in several nations
such as Germany, Italy, the Netherlands - as it is becoming clearer that
the repression of smoking - and the use of junk science to justify it -
exceeds by far the simple ban of lighting a cigarette in public places.
It implies a subversion of ethics, politics and social values mostly at
the service of powerful pharmaceutical corporations on one hand, and
state social engineering and control on the other.
Why does FORCES fight those who want the health of the public?
In the first place, healthism does not coincide with the health of the
public, but it is the enmeshment of two concepts: health
and totalitarianism. Today there is a dangerous deviation
from the classic understanding of the role of both public health and of
medicine in general (the latter having had the role of primarily
treating and curing disease). This deviation (marketed today with
the inaccurate term of prevention) implies the utilization of
economic and political power to "prevent disease". This process,
which has unarguable historical precedents in the Nazi state, includes
the concept that being healthy -- or, rather, having a "healthy
lifestyle" -- is not just a choice of the citizen but also a duty.
Thus, the state has the right to demand and implement with force the
compliance with this duty. Furthermore, the state has the right/duty to
"educate" youth in this social duty regardless of the will and opinion
of parents - as we see happening everywhere in public schools with
"antismoking/antifat/antialcohol "education". Healthism has deeply
contaminated the fabric of the state at all levels (together with the
pharmaceutical and insurance industry with whom healthism is deeply
associated), and has acquired economical and political super-power,
enabling it to alter social systems as well as scientific and democratic
the second place, healthism uses junk science to reach its goals, as it
is often unable to demonstrate the reality of its claims with real
science, unwilling to wait for science to confirm its assertion - and
absolutely unwilling to accept the disproving of its theories. Junk
science presents theoretical speculations, unproven assertions, and
biased statistics as if they were sound scientific facts of unequivocal
clarity. Let us take passive smoke as an example. There is absolutely no
scientific proof (or statistical evidence, for that matter)
demonstrating that passive smoke is harmful to the non smoker. Yet we
are told with absolute certainty that passive smoke causes death
and disease - which are even quantified in meaningless numbers because
of the faultiness of the data gathering process. It is clear the those
who spread the information are aware of this reality - the alternative
being that they are utterly incompetent. Incompetence and inaccuracy are
somewhat accepted as media traits, but they become worrisome issues when
they apply to health authorities. At any rate, the "dangers" of passive
smoke are an excuse to justify smoking bans that have their real base in
the annoyance that non smokers feel towards smokers - an annoyance which
in turn is induced mainly by relentless propaganda stating that passive
smoke kills: thus, annoyance becomes a dignifying expression of fear.
By the same token, smoking-related "deaths" are impossible to calculate
because of the multiple factors contributing to the development of
diseases that by no means are unique to smokers. In fact, not even
one death can be demonstrated to have been caused uniquely by
smoking, nor is it possible to establish the contribution of smoking to
the death or disease of one individual. We feel that it is
shameful that ministries of health and other public and private entities
- and even many doctors - lend themselves to statistical trickery, false
representation of evidence and to the promotion of pharmaceutical
agendas to the end of marketing and social engineering.
Finally, behaviour coercion represents a serious threat to both personal
liberties and freedom of enterprise. A state using taxation,
communication and law to impose personal health is called a Therapeutic
State, one where all citizens are potentially sick and in need of cure.
Such a regime elevates what is called public health to a plane higher
than personal liberties or, worse yet, attempts to create an equivalence
between health and freedom. On such a basis, the repression of personal
liberties when they are not conducive to "health" as set by the state
becomes acceptable, legitimate and even moral. A very dangerous concept
is thus launched: those who don't take care of their health according
to state dogmas are immoral, thus their marginalization from social
and public life is justified. Today this mentality pervades much of the
public and the state and, as we have shown for years, is no longer
limited to the smoking issue.
If you are against smoking bans, how do you intend to protect non smokers
against passive smoke?
The use of the word "protect" is unacceptable, as it implies the
existence of a danger. One can only talk about the reciprocal
annoyance that smokers and non smokers create for each other - one
with smoke and the other with intolerance. FORCES believe that, instead
of laws, real education and mutual respect must be implemented. Civil
coexistence consists of self-limitations and tolerance -- and both
smokers and non smokers are no exception. Furthermore, we believe
that separation - not segregation and ghettoization - of smokers and non
smokers in appropriate and dignified sections (the proportions to be
established exclusively by market demand) can easily be achieved in
public and private places.
You speak of tolerance, peaceful coexistence and respect, but the often
belligerent tones of your organization makes one think otherwise. How do
you explain this incongruity?
Moderation is a virtue and it is effective only in an environment where
moderation and balance are the standard. In that case, presenting
oneself as moderate in opposition to extremists may create public
support. Unfortunately nowadays, the situation is already in the
hands of extremists - that is, people who consider it "normal" and
"therapeutic" to expose children and adults to pictures of disfigured
cancer patients; to relentlessly instigate people to ever more violent
intolerance (marketed as "self-protection"); and to segregation and
taxation of citizens according to their "vices".
Under such conditions, "moderate" opposition can only be perceived as
weakness. To re-establish common sense and balance, healthist
extremism must be faced with an equal counter-force that is not
compromising and that is not fearful of authority. Such counter-force
must also be turned to educating people on the false scientific bases
used to justify such extremism. There is ever-growing historical
evidence that any other method has failed.
Why separation? Isn't it easier and more practical to impose a total
is always easier in a social conflict such as this is to impose a ban
that gives the advantage to one side rather than respect the rights and
dignity of all. While it is true that totalitarian regimes are usually
more efficient than the free ones, it is also true that the social price
to pay for the simplistic approach taken by such regimes is often quite
high, and frequently leading to eventual social collapse.
Wouldn't a total ban induce smokers to quit smoking and the youth not to
What we have to quit is considering smoking as something that is always
and only negative. That is scientifically false, and it leads to
prejudice, superstition and social debilitation beyond the smoking
issue. Smoking is a legitimate and legal choice as acceptable as eating,
drinking or gambling. Second, we do not recognize to the state the right
to regulate lifestyles, nor that of using taxation to force and pilot
public behaviour. Third, propaganda and prohibition are either
ineffective or force behaviour in directions that -- differently than
smoking -- could be very negative.
Smoking is a vice. Why do you support it?
It has to be said beforehand that we reject the concept that smoking is
a vice. Smoking is a choice and, like any choice, it means risk.
Choosing not to smoke is no guarantee of less risk whatsoever. If that
were true, non smokers would not get sick. Choosing not to smoke does
not even mean less risk of cancer, as two thirds of the cancers occur in
non smokers. It only means, statistically, less risk of lung cancer
after the age of about 75. Smoking is a pleasure -- and people are
entitled to pleasure if, when and where they choose, as long as they
don't physically harm others - and passive smoke represent no harm.
Are you supported by the
No. But we certainly would not consider it immoral to be supported by
it. If financing is to be the discriminator, then the arguments of
antitobacco, lavishly supported by the pharmaceutical industry, must not
be believed. Nor one should believe groups financed by state money, as
clearly their arguments can be "tainted" by political agenda. As anybody
has to make a living (thus get money from somebody else) the absurd
conclusion is that nobody must believe anybody. A more logical solution
is, therefore, that the arguments stand on their own regardless of the
financing, as reason and logic cannot be overridden by prejudice or
claimed moral issues. But even if one's metre if the financing then
FORCES as an
organization funded solely by membership and donation and run by
volunteers should be more credible than all our opponents put together!
Do you support the tobacco
That depends on what the tobacco industry does. We certainly support the
right of the tobacco industry (and any other industry) to freely promote
and advertise its products, which are absolutely legal and certainly no
more "dangerous" than many other products which are allowed to be
advertised. That, incidentally, does not imply that advertisement of
those other products should be restricted (other than when it is
misleading). Equality under tyranny is no justice at all.
any rate, we are usually in strong disagreement with the tobacco
industry on how to handle anti-tobacco. We criticize the industry for
being very short-sighted, meek, and soft-pedaling when it comes to
fighting its opposition. We resent the industry for not involving - and
not even considering -- its clientele when it comes to decisions and
negotiations that affect the purse, the destiny and the liberties of its
Why all this animosity on smoking? Aren't there more important causes
concerning liberty out there?
When talking about liberty, all causes are important, and it has been
said that the price of liberty is eternal vigilance. We know that the
war on smoking has deep implications - so deep, in fact, that they tend
to go unnoticed by the uninformed person, who represents the vast
majority. Beyond the infringement of the sacrosanct freedom of choice
lays a serious institutional problem.
The fundamental problem consists in the state (in this case represented
by the health institutions) divulging statistical and scientific fraud
and then using them as bases for laws to impose behaviour, and going as
far as considering behaviour as disease.
exaggerations and frauds on active and passive smoking are as glaring as
they are demonstrable and indisputable. To accept the de-normalization
of smoking means to accept the normalization of beliefs based on those
exaggerations and frauds. Much like the global warming scam, antitobacco
stemmed from fear, fraud and ignorance and evolved into a hysterical and
nihilistic ideology that sees in abolitionism the fulfilment of its
reason to be. The consequences of that mentality open to intolerance and
utterly closed to dialogue will inevitably be disastrous from any point
of view. And that is no small issue at all.
What are your political
affiliations and ideology?
We are not affiliated with any political party. Though we believe that
the fight against anti-tobacco must be a political one, we are not
"party political" in nature. The fight for personal, civil and human
rights is usually independent of political parties. Of course, we will
support any party that stands for the rights of smokers, and the right
Do you believe that children
Of course not. Children should not smoke, drink, or engage in other
adult behaviour before their time. But we are certainly against lying to
children about the effects of smoking. We are against the interference
of the state in the family, especially when children are encouraged to
disrespect or "educate" their parents just because simply because they
smoke. Children have become instruments of peer pressure on parents
exercised by schools and institutions.
Do you support tobacco
education in schools?
There is a difference between education and brainwashing, and what is
going on in schools today is not education.
- If we choose to
educate about potentially dangerous substances and behaviours, then
education should not be limited to tobacco. There are vastly more
dangerous substances and behaviours to educate children about.
- If we choose to educate children against all the potentially dangerous
substances and behaviours, that would be at the expense of
conventional education, already severely lacking in substance with
results of measurable, endemic ignorance.
- Schools are supposed to teach children academic disciplines that are
useful in life, not turn into propaganda centres to satisfy social or
political agendas. Education about lifestyle choices is to be left to
the parents, who teach children according to their own values and
experiences. This is important to maintain the moral and intellectual
diversity which is the foundation of a strong and resilient society.
- If there must be tobacco education outside the scholastic environment,
children should be educated on the real and verified potential dangers
of tobacco, if any, without making undemonstrated hypotheses fit
cultural agendas. Making the children believe that tobacco is worse
than almost anything else - equal or worse than heroin for example -
or exposing them to violent images of surgical operations is
irresponsible, brutal and obtuse.
grow up straight, children deserve truth, balance, the teaching of
respect for adults (especially parents), as well as examples of
tolerance and moderation.
Are you favourable to the prohibition of tobacco sales to minors?
No, and this for two main reasons:
Keeping minors from obtaining alcoholics and cigarettes increases their
desire to have them, and antitobacco "education" enhances that desire,
more so in kids with bright minds who don't get easily conditioned by
propaganda. Anywhere the sales have been prohibited to minors, the
percentage of drinkers and smokers between eight and fifteen years has
greatly increased. Furthermore, there is a direct relationship between
drinking restrictions and underage drinking: the tougher the
restrictions, the greater the transgression. The abuse is not the cause
of the prohibition; the prohibition is the cause of the abuse. But today
this easily demonstrable reality is obfuscated by fanatical health
activism, preaching that current restrictions are "not tough enough"
because the only acceptable rate of alcohol and tobacco use among the
underage is zero. But absolute prohibition does not mean elimination of
the intended target behaviour, but rather driving the targets out of
prohibition of sales to minors carries the exaggerated message that
tobacco and alcohol are highly dangerous substances, thus adult maturity
is needed to handle them. Again, that stimulates the adolescent to
demonstrate that he is mature, and to experiment with them
inappropriately. We also have to accept that experimentation is part of
the normal and healthy development of the individual, and that
stubbing/discouraging experimentation may impair the development of good
judgement in adulthood. Conversely, a relaxed social acceptance of the
use of these substances without drumming propaganda, combined with
family guidance and a school system teaching concepts of moderation as
opposed to zero tolerance would not stimulate desire for transgression.
everything that is potentially dangerous is forbidden or controlled,
then control becomes total and personal choice is precluded - which is
the final goal of the healthist ideology, killing pleasure in the name
of long life. And that, in itself, is not healthy at all.
people who are not smoking have the right to avoid breathing other
issue of rights when it comes to smoking bans does not concern the
rights of the non-smoker or the smoker. It only concerns the rights of
the owner to provide a service to whomever he/she sees fit. The owner of
a bar or club should have the right, having invested their own time and
money, to provide any legal activity amongst consenting adults within
their own premises. This is the only solution that protects everyone's
choice, i.e. the owner is free to choose smoking or non-smoking, the
employees are free to choose whether to work there and
smokers/non-smokers are free to choose whether to enter or not.