Books
Slow Burn

The Great American Antismoking Scam (And Why It Will Fail)

Eyrie Press

Slow Burn: The Great American Antismoking Scam
(And Why It will Fail)

Don Oakley

ISBN 0-9619465-3-9
600 Pages; $15.95 Trade Paperback

Publication Date: June 30, 1999

"The 1964 Report of the Advisory Committee to the Surgeon General of the U.S. Public Health Service is one of the most insidiously harmful documents ever foisted upon a gullible public."

This is the provocative--many will say outrageous--conclusion reached by Don Oakley after a review of the consequences on American society of the crusade against smoking that was launched that year by Surgeon General Luther L. Terry's landmark report, Smoking and Health.

That conclusion was not arrived at casually. Slow Burn begins with a searching critique of the report itself in which Oakley reports the Advisory Committee's own reservations about the seven weak (and never replicated) studies on which it based its famous warning the "Cigarette smoking is a health hazard of sufficient importance in the United States to warrant appropriate remedial action."

It was that "action"--or, more accurately, actions--flowing from the report over the past three decades that persuaded the author, a retired newspaper editorial writer, to undertake his book. A smoker in good health for 53 years, he was appalled at the hysteria infection America as a result of an endless series of assaults against smoking and those who choose to indulge in it.

In the course of a highly personal but thoroughly documented journey to find out the truth behind the supposed facts undergirding the antismoking crusade, Oakley acquired, and in Slow Burn, a basic knowledge of epidemiology and the uses, and especially the misuses, of statistics. The book examines the most important recent studies into smoking and reveals that many if not most of them are fatally compromised by antismoking bias on the part of researchers who are encouraged by abundant antismoking grant money, much of it extorted from smokers themselves. At the same time he reports on numerous studies exonerating smoking that the public has never heard about.

The book is also infused with great humor as the author pokes fun at some of the more ludicrous claims and almost superstitious beliefs that have come to surround smoking, beliefs that unfortunately are entertained by many in the medical establishment as well as by the lay public.

Slow Burn is, however, an utterly serious work. Oakley realizes that any attempt by a nonscientists to challenge "what everybody knows" about the health perils of smoking will be greeted with widespread disbelief. But as he asks in Chapter 2, even if everything said about smoking is true, is what we as a nation are doing on the basis of it wise and necessary"

As detailed in subsequent chapters, what we have done has been to ostracize and discriminate against a quarter of the population, to demonize and industry and applaud its plundering by state attorneys general and, above all, to countenance the prostitution of science and the corruption of the nation's legal system--all in the politically correct cause of a "smoke-free" society.

Slow Burn is a cautionary lesson in recent social history that should be pondered by all Americans--smokers, nonsmokers and antismokers alike.

Eyrie Press
P.O. Box 805
Gainesville, VA 20156-0805.


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