Articles Archive 2003
December 15, 2003 - Christine, Queen of Nicotine, Raises Campaign Cash - As another anti-tobacco attorney general gears up a campaign to move on to higher office, Norman Kjono find interesting -- and alarming as well -- that Christine Gregoire, the Washington State attorney general who was a key participant in the Tobacco Settlement, is receiving tidy sums from organizations connected to the tobacco control industry. It's mighty peculiar that Ms. Gregoire, a shrill critic of tobacco industry "corruption" is sucking up bucks from mercantile interests heavily invested in hobbling the tobacco industry and paving the way for saturation of the market with their own version of nicotine products.
December 5, 2003 - Health Board Defies Washington State Legislature - The Tacoma/Pierce County Board of Health voted yesterday to ban smoking in all indoor public places, including bars, taverns, restaurants and bowling alleys. The unanimous vote came after a 4-½-hour meeting in which a boisterous crowd of nearly 300 people overflowed an auditorium and spilled into hallways. The audience gave the board a standing ovation after Chairman Kevin Phelps signed the resolution.
Very inspiring, especially as inscribed with the turgid prose of the rabidly anti-smoker Seattle Times, but when all is said and done, the health board's action is illegal. Illegality, of course, never was much of a concern of the tobacco control industry as it steamrolls its path of destruction throughout the land. In this case, however, the prohibitionists may have contracted a severe case of hubris.
Norman Kjono, a contributor to FORCES and a long-time critic of the tobacco control industry, has been following the antics of Federico Cruz-Uribe, health director for Pierce County and initiated a preemptive strike of his own.
Cruz-Uribe is not merely some bureaucratic hack marking time in a public agency; he is a Republican candidate for governor next year. As the following makes clear, Cruz-Uribe seems to have a bit of a problem understanding the role of the legislature vis-à-vis unelected public officials:
"It's [banning smoking] simply the right thing to do. Along with clean water and safe food, we need to guarantee our citizens clean air to breathe. We want a smoke-free Pierce County. If it means having to go to court, we'll go to court — and we feel pretty good about our chances."
He also appears confused as to which political party he represents. Of the two major parties, the Republicans at least pretend to support property rights. Hoping to gain traction as a major contender for the governorship, Cruz-Uribe appears to believe his blind faith in junk science qualifies him to lead a populous state.
He certainly has the vote of the Seattle Times which, before the ban was passed, wrote a glowing paean on seizing the moment and ascending arm and arm with the director into a smokefree paradise.
Not so fast, says Norman Kjono. There are still a few things to consider — state law being one of them — before would-be Governor Cruz-Uribe seizes the reigns of power. The Seattle Times may consider the legislature irrelevant but the legislators themselves certainly hold a different view of their function.
November 13, 2003 - Striking The Right Chord - Norman Kjono is keeping his state representative apprised of two situations where anti-tobacco bullying has foolishly been countenanced and even encouraged by politicians who are elected to represent the interest of all their constituents. A proponent of smoking bans and high tobacco taxes, his representative must face the consequences of her policies. Change is difficult and the first step, opening up to hearing different views, is hardest. Smokers, and all those who value true tolerance, owe it to themselves to get a dialog going between themselves and their leaders.
November 6, 2003 - Stop Killing Businesses - The New York Times this week lamented the closure of a popular Wall Street restaurant. The owner flatly stated that Mayor Michael Bloomberg's smoking ban killed his business. While noting that it's mighty odd that the New York Times, an ardent cheerleader for the smoking ban, is expressing sadness over the result of a policy it endorses, Norman Kjono takes the demise of Harry's personally. In a letter to his state representative he links the business killing policies of Bloomberg with the demonization campaign launched in Washington after the tobacco control industry's scheme to import New York's ruinous smoking policy was defeated in that state.
November 4, 2003 - Striking Where It Hurts - The primary reason that smokers are finding themselves unwelcome in restaurants is that they sullenly accept the disrespect that is blithely thrown their way. When their favorite restaurant is bullied into adopting a smoke-free policy, the smoker accepts it or quietly finds another restaurant to patronize. It doesn't take much to let the owner know exactly why the smoker's business is being taken elsewhere.
Norman Kjono was startled to find a huge sign at one of his favorite restaurants proclaiming the establishment was "proudly" smoke-free. Instead of suffering the insult in silence, he took pen to hand and sent a message that every business can understand.
September 22, 2003 - Fat Lady Has Yet To Sing In Seattle - The nation, and even the globe, has had a good laugh at Seattle over the recent vote on whether to tack a tax upon coffee specialty drinks. The citizens of that java Disneyland voted overwhelmingly against the tax increase. The home town paper has rhapsodized over the common sense of an electorate that does not believe it is proper to pass taxes, to pay for particular programs, that will be paid for by a targeted minority.
Not so fast, says Norman Kjono who, as a resident of Seattle and a critic of the sort of public policy targeted towards a particular minority, has analyzed the so-called Latte Tax issue deeper than the chuckleheads who see the vote as entertaining fodder for the rubes.
September 10, 2003 - We are pleased to post a reprint of Norman Kjono's Op-Ed "In The Balance," published by The Los Angeles Daily Journal, the largest legal newspaper on the West Coast, July 30, 2003.
Yesterday, July 15, 2003 we published a report about Rep. Ernie Fletcher's (R-KY) bill to end tobacco price supports, through a buy-out of tobacco quotas. In that posting we also reported on Sen. Mitch McConnell's (R-KY) bill to give the U.S. Food and Drug administration authority to regulate tobacco. Today we add the connection between Sen. McConnell's bill and the $18 billion economic interests of tobacco bondholders. It appears that Sen. McConnell is implementing a plan published by tobacco control advocates to replace cigarettes with pharmaceutical nicotine inhalers. As explained in Mr. Kjono's published July 30 article, should that be the case tobacco settlement asset-backed bondholders may find their $18 billion investment to be collateral damage in the War on Tobacco. We cite previous Forces reports and current events to support that case.
Suit Over Suet - September 10, 2003 - In the latest example of special interest financial expansion, a gaggle of "child advocates" has placed a measure on the Seattle ballot that, if approved by the citizens, will tack a tax upon coffee drinks such as espresso, latte and cappuccino. The proceeds will flow to a mishmash of child development programs. Lost in the warm feelings generated by the mantra of "for the children" are some hard business facts that both the proponents and opponents of the coffee tax measure are choosing to ignore.
Seattle Times Opposes 10 Cent Latte Tax - September 8, 2003
The Seattle Times has written an editorial opposing the Latte tax. Wonders never cease!
On closer look The Times' position is anti mentality. They object to the tax as unrelated to child care, and they are concerned that this could set precedent for other products to be taxed, too.
1. In the 1980s a tax was levied on cigarettes to clean up the water in Puget Sound, which The Times Supported. Tobacco settlement monies now balance the budget and fill pot holes in roads. The Times supported the settlement. In 2001 a 60 cent new tax on cigarettes was levied through initiative to fund health insurance for the poor (that money is now being used in the general fund and health insurance for the poor has decreased since the new 60 cent per pack tax.) the Seattle Times supported that cigarette tax, too. The Seattle times has stridently supported new taxes on cigarettes for decades, regardless of what the proceeds are to be used for or how vastly unrelated the "just cause" is to tobacco.
2. Of course the Latte Tax sets precedent for taxing all products, that is the model established by allegedly anti-tobacco, which the Seattle Times has aggressively supported. Rather than worrying that a Latte Tax will set a new precedent, The Times should consider that its own editorials and blind promotion of junk science about tobacco have already set the precedent to tax Lattes and any other product. Where does The Times think anti-fat, which it also supports like anti-tobacco, is going? Does The Times really believe that all the hoopla about how much fat people cost society will not lead to new taxes on food, too?
Rather than cogent or responsible commentary on tax policy, The Times, editorial is the strident braying of Seattle's effete media and intellectual communities who do not want their caffeine pleasures taxed as they callously mandate about nicotine for their neighbors. The Times does recommend, however, that new funding be found to provide for child care. Good for them, now let them fund it with a new 10 cent tax on each newspaper sold. Given The Times' present circulation, that tax should raise about $25,000 per day, or $750,000 per month for kids. It's The Seattle Times civic duty, considering the degree of journalistic pollution they have spread around over the past decade about anti-tobacco and anti-fat.
On second thought, we should create a new penalty of $1 for every hypocritical word spoken by politicians or published by the media. We could educate the world's children on just the proceeds from The Seattle Times.
Special Interest Taxes Collected From The Working Stiff - September 4, 2003 - In the latest example of special interest financial expansion, a gaggle of "child advocates" has placed a measure on the Seattle ballot that, if approved by the citizens, will tack a tax upon coffee drinks such as espresso, latte and cappuccino. The proceeds will flow to a mishmash of child development programs. Lost in the warm feelings generated by the mantra of "for the children" are some hard business facts that both the proponents and opponents of the coffee tax measure are choosing to ignore.
Political Considerations Direct Scientific Outcomes - September 2, 2003 - The EPA refuses to classify emissions from burning hydrocarbons in automobiles and busses as air pollutants. Of course, the fact that hydrocarbons come from burning oil rather than tobacco wouldn't have anything whatsoever to do with that EPA conclusion . . . Considering that the Bush administration cabinet and its senior officials could serve simultaneously as the board of directors of oil and utility corporations, there may be a strong message indeed in the EPA's present conclusion about air pollution. The message appears to be that in today's political culture legitimate science bends to the will of vested economic interests. But we've know that for years now, at least since the December 1992 EPA report on secondhand smoke. So the current EPA ruling is more of a confirmation of the obvious than a new or honest scientific work product.
Well, that's interesting. I suspect that secondhand smoke can no longer be classified as an air pollutant, either!
Notably the EPA refuses to classify carbon dioxide as a pollutant, and also refuses to classify many other emissions from burning hydrocarbons as pollutants, too. Many of the constituents of secondhand smoke are also emissions from hydrocarbons and automobile exhaust. Hydrocarbon exhaust from cars and buses also contains many toxic substances that secondhand smoke does not.
"Bondholders Beware" - July 22, 2003 - Is $18 billion of tobacco bond investors' money considered to be mere collateral damage in the War On Tobacco? June 2003 Forces reported on a research paper by W. Sumner II, MD "Estimating The Health Consequences of Replacing Cigarettes With Nicotine Inhalers," and we developed that story further in "Mercantile Agendas". Forces is pleased to now present an additional aspect of that story: what would happen to the value of bondholders' positions in tobacco settlement asset-backed bonds if Dr. Sumner's mercantile strategy for virtually mandating replacement of cigarettes with nicotine inhalers were to be successfully employed? The answer is, in a word, meltdown.
That phenomenon wiping out the value of tobacco settlement asset-backed bonds would occur because tobacco consumers are the source of revenue to make tobacco company settlement payments to Settling States, and therefore to provide tobacco bond interest and principal payments for bondholders. If tobacco consumers buy fewer cigarettes due to smoking bans and other tobacco control initiatives then fewer dollars are also available to make tobacco settlement payments. At what point does tobacco control policy and product liability reduce tobacco company available revenues to where they can no longer make settlement payments that service tobacco bonds that states have sold to investors?
Page 15 of the prospectus for the State of Washington's $517 million Tobacco Settlement Asset-Backed Bonds, Series 2002 bond offering says:
"The settlement represents the resolution of a large potential financial liability of the PMs [Participating Manufacturers] for smoking-related injuries, the costs of which have been borne and will likely continue to be borne by cigarette consumers." (Bracket, underline added.)
Since prospectus statements are required to be true, factual, and accurate for purposes of reliance by investors, we can dispense with any further representations that tobacco control advocates and their supporters taught Big Tobacco a "stern lesson." Tobacco control has known for five years that they crafted the tobacco settlement to expressly target smokers for discriminatory costs and taxes. Any other representation about tobacco companies bearing the settlement cost is false and known to be false at the time it is made. In addition, Section VII (d.) of the 1998 tobacco Master Settlement Agreement is referenced on page 16 of the Washington tobacco bond prospectus. That prospectus text says:
"The MSA expressly provides that the remedies of each PM are not the obligation or responsibility of any affiliate of such PM."
For example, neither Philip Morris' parent Altria Group, nor its sister subsidiary Kraft Foods, are responsible for any tobacco settlement payments to Settling States. That provision not only leaves tobacco settlement bond investors completely dependent on consumers continuing to purchase cigarettes at levels forecast in the prospectus, but the MSA was specifically crafted by attorneys general and Philip Morris to place the settlement payment burden squarely on tobacco consumers' shoulders. In short, bondholders are dependent on continued cigarette purchases, while tobacco control advocates, including states that sold the bonds in the first place, have a defined plan and strategy to replace cigarettes with pharmaceutical nicotine products.
A critical underlying assumption in the Washington tobacco bond prospectus is its forecast of tobacco consumption through the year 2032, as set forth in the prospectus' Appendix A. Not only are the forecasts calculated in a manner that is misleading, but the State of Washington also failed to disclose that a strategy to replace cigarettes with nicotine inhalers had already been submitted for publication to Tobacco Control journal nine months before the Washington prospectus date.
This first work on tobacco bonds outlines material facts about the October 2002 Washington tobacco bond prospectus. Additional reports will address important subsequent events that have occurred since the May 19, 2003 date of this first report.
Which Members Do We Sue Now? - July 21, 2003 - The Seattle School Board voted 4 to 3 on July 17, 2003, in favor of continuing its vending contract with Coca Cola. Given John Banzhaf's threats to sue school board members individually for failing in their fiduciary duty to protect children from Coca Cola if they did so, an interesting question presents itself: which board members would be sued individually, all seven or just the four who voted in favor of renewing the contract? How much more focused, and therefore more revealing, will the wrath of the Junk Litigation demigods become? Fortunately, the Seattle School District appears to be served by a board that has a majority with sufficient backbone to do its job as they see it regardless of what special-interests attempt to brutishly mandate. The majority has spoken and the Seattle School Board has expressed its will as duly elected representatives of the school district's constituency. It is now time to get back to the business of serving the children, parents and taxpayers of the Seattle School District on more important matters than flinging hurtful negative labels of "prostitute" and promoting threats against school board members over a soft drink contract. (continues inside)
SEATTLE SCHOOLS: Shoot First And Don't Bother With Questions Later - July 15, 2003 - Forces provides a comprehensive report on the Seattle School Board and recent threats of litigation by John F. Banzhaf III, Esq., should the board vote to renew its vending contract with Coca Cola. This report includes excerpts from recent press reports on that subject and source E-Mails from the Washington Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction to Mr. Banzhaf, as well as the full text of Mr. Banzhaf's threatening June 25, 2003 E-Mail to Seattle School Board members.
Forces investigative reporting has confirmed that that it was the Washington Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction that prompted Banzhaf to write his E-Mail, which threatened to sue board members individually over the Coca Cola contract, to the Seattle School Board. Though this fact was included in materials reportedly distributed to the press at Banzhaf's July 1, 2003 press conference, neither The Seattle Times nor the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reported it in their July 2, 2003 articles. That fact, if disclosed, materially alters and colors this breaking news story. The involvement of the Superintendent of Public Instruction's office in these tawdry events changes public views from an outsider attempting to impose his will on the Seattle school constituency to that of the State of Washington's Executive Branch of government directly bringing outside undue influence to bear on local school board legislative decisions and votes.
Forces investigative reporting has also confirmed that the stated purpose in Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction's communications was to "send a strong message" to local school board members about their forthcoming vote, and that such message was communicated in light of the fact that the Washington legislature had failed to pass the anti-obesity agenda's bills during its last session. In addition to undue influence and circumventing the will of the legislature, important issues regarding separation of government powers therefore arise from this influence-peddling mess.
This is an extremely important issue that goes to the heart of the integrity of our school board deliberative processes. Notable among the many issues related to this subject is that John Banzhaf could now force school districts that are already contending with budget cuts in austere times to compound their problems by also having to fund defense of lawsuits which Banzhaf acknowledges to be apparently "frivolous." The "anti" message is again clearly stated, this time as : "We're still first in line, our bucks and our agenda still come before everything and everybody else, and that includes school boards, school funding and kids."
Who now manages school policy: local school boards or activist lawyers? No school district, school board, or school administrator should be required to tolerate such behavior being directed toward them. These unseemly events emphasize the importance of reviewing legal authority for school board member immunity from liability for good faith actions in their official capacity as elected school district representatives. It is troubling, to say the least, that activist anti-tobacco litigators like John Banzhaf have now chosen to declare our schools to be a battle ground in their new "War On Fat," and our children to be "Targets" for their self-described "legal terrorist" actions of "guerilla" lawsuits. Having already successfully looted tobacco consumers through the 1998 tobacco Master Settlement Agreement, Banzhaf and his "Boston 120" cronies now focus on beating up on school board members and children, through what they describe as "legal terrorism," in pursuit of their declared purpose to "get larger settlements" and "making money."
Forces has previously reported on this developing story: Intimidating The Local School Board
John Banzhaf and obesity litigation:
We recommend that readers get involved in this issue. They may want to check with their local school board on the issues of current school district soda vending contracts, and what their school board's response is to Mr. Banzhaf's widely-touted and published threats toward individual school board members.
Mercantile Agendas Versus Honest Public Policy - June 17, 2003 - Two weeks ago Forces reported on a Washington University at Saint Louis research paper, "Estimating The Health Consequences Of Replacing Cigarettes With Nicotine Inhalers," by W. Sumner II, MD, as published in the June 2003 issues of Tobacco control [2003;12: 124-132] The title of that research paper is self-explanatory. Dr. Sumner's paper says on page 129:
"Local ordinances that curtail public smoking already create settings where a nicotine inhaler could be the most satisfying alternative for current smokers. Lacking a burning tip and side stream smoke, an inhaler should present no risk to bystanders and requires no restriction on public use. Employers could even abolish outdoor smoking areas and smoking breaks if addicted employees could inhale nicotine indoors."
Smokers now see their future boldly stated in writing, according to a university that received a $500,000 grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation for smoking cessation studies, and as published in a journal that received a $200,000 grant from the same foundation to support its publication. That future is straightforward: further increasing the price of cigarettes through discriminatory taxation would craft anti-competitive price advantages for nicotine inhalers, and expanded smoking bans would coerce tobacco consumers to use them.
What Forces has been reporting for several years about pharmaceutical special-interests and tobacco control is no longer subject to credible dispute, it is clearly written in tobacco control's own hand. The pharmaceutical nicotine coercive marketing strategy described in Dr. Sumner's paper is broader in scope and more deeply penetrating into tobacco consumers' interests than even we thought.
For those who may object to subsidizing pharmaceutical nicotine marketing through increased costs and taxes on cigarettes there are a now steps that you can take. Should you dislike the idea of Big Pharma mandating that you use their nicotine inhaler in in place of cigarettes it would be intelligent to act today to prevent that reality as already in progress. Three steps toward those ends are:
1. BE INFORMED -- be sure to support the antis: they demand that you pay $8.00 to read Dr Sumner's strategy to replace cigarettes with nicotine inhalers. Go to www.tobaccocontrol.org to purchase your copy.
2. DEVELOP A PERSONAL STRATEGY: Our five page summary (linked to at the top of this article) of the Washington University research report with four exhibits, in context of Product Safety, Tobacco Tax, and Smoking Ban issues, spells out exactly the aims of the Tobacco Control industry and how you will be affected. That summary also includes policy recommendations suitable for use to send to politicians and news reporters about those issues. Read that summary and its exhibits, determine if you agree with its contents.
3. TAKE ACTION: Send an E-Mail with our summary and Dr. Sumner's report linked to every politician and news reporter that you are aware of who supports, reports on, or writes in favor of new tobacco taxes or smoking bans. Whether one changes a vote or news article today is not the point. By doing so you are directly communicating the fact that such policy is not only unwarranted, it is also unacceptable to you. That is a positive way to start. Continue sending a similar E-Mail to politicians and news reporters every time you read about a new tobacco tax or smoking ban in the news paper.
Yes, you can do nothing. No, you don't need to bother. And maybe you feel that taking action to oppose tobacco control as described is someone else's job, not yours. Forces response then becomes, please don't whine about the quality of government that you allow to be created by your own inaction. While some sit and wait for others to do the job of opposing tobacco control, be assured that anti-tobacco has thousands of activists nationwide who will be pleased to push, and many are paid to push, their own views into the vacuum that you create by failing to act.
To those who take the time to get informed about these issues, to develop a personal strategy to address them, and to take action as recommended, we at Forces extend our appreciation and support. We appreciate that by your action you are mindful of the paraphrased adage that "Nothing need be done to assure evil triumphs, save good people standing silent."
Readers are encouraged to send responses they receive to Norm Kjono at firstname.lastname@example.org. He will prepare summaries of responses that readers receive periodically, so all readers are up to date on the status of our efforts.
Nicotine Inhalers: The New Cigarette - June 3, 2003 - Two weeks ago we reported on a research paper appearing in Tobacco Control. Although the full article was not available to the public we did post the conclusions reached by the author to provide a chilling glimpse into the goal of the pharmaceutical industry to monopolize the nicotine market. We marveled at the candor of the author whose brief synopsis of the paper explicitly backs up our contention that the anti-smoking movement is nothing more than a lavishly funded, politically connected marketing arm of the pharmaceutical industry.
Norman Kjono did read the entire paper and we are pleased to offer his dissection of the astounding tobacco control position paper, "Estimating The Health Consequences Of Replacing Cigarettes With Nicotine Inhalers," Tobacco Control, 2003;12:124-132, by Walter Sumner, II.
What is proposed is so mind-boggling that it seems to have been written for a publication specializing in satire or parody. Although its proposals may induce incredulous laughter it is no laughing matter to the author and his patrons. They are deadly serious, as well they should be considering the staggering amounts of money that will accrue to Big Drugs should this plan be brought to fruition. It is also no laughing matter that many of Dr. Sumner's proposals have already been implemented by various public health organizations and state governments. Never has the public sector cooperated so enthusiastically with huge, multi-national corporations in beefing up the corporate bottom line.
Replacing cigarettes with nicotine inhalers must replace the goal, unobtainable according to the author, of reducing smoking prevalence to 12% by 2010.
The "nicotine industry" must "replicate successful smoking themes such as rugged individuality, suave character, and pleasure" to attract smokers to the nicotine inhaler.
"Displacing cigarettes with a widely used, deeply inhaled, highly addictive, pharmaceutical grade nicotine inhaler" is comparable or superior to reducing smoking prevalence to 12%.
Pressuring employers to eliminate both indoor and outdoor smoke break areas, lobbying policy makers to raise cigarette taxes and enact smoking bans will drive smokers to embrace the nicotine inhaler.
The potential customer base need not be limited to smokers.
This are but a few of the tidbits digested and analyzed by Mr. Kjono. The money trail is also followed and, yes, Dr. Sumner's opus is funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, a "charitable" health concern holding $7-billion dollars worth of Johnson & Johnson, the maker of the Nicotrol Inhaler, stock. Health risks for hooking people up to a "clean nicotine" delivery device are acknowledged and dismissed as an inconsequential price to pay for transitioning society away from tobacco.
By the time Mr. Kjono is finished it is obvious that any legislative body that enacts a smoking ban or hikes a tobacco tax is doing the dirty work for Johnson & Johnson and other purveyors of nicotine delivery devices. It can't get any clearer than this. After all, this fantastic scheme comes straight from the horse's mouth
Crying Poor - April 8, 2003 - We have an unprecedented opportunity to derail antitobacco’s part of gravy train. That opportunity is found in the economically vulnerable position that Philip Morris has placed itself through systematically disregarding its customer’s interests in favor of politically expedient accommodation.
The logical and moral contradictions that were the primary ingredients of the tobacco settlement are emerging. When it was enacted the attorneys general proclaimed the settlement to be the most significant public health initiative ever. Big Tobacco, for its misdeeds, would pay the bills its misconduct had cost the public while a new day would dawn in which the caring people, personified by the righteous state attorneys general, would improve the nation's health by eliminating the scourge of tobacco smoking.
Five years later we find that many states have blown the settlement funds and the same anti-tobacco attorneys general who crowed about defeating Big Tobacco at countless photo ops are rushing to Illinois to plead with the legislature to change the rules in favor of Philip Morris, the biggest of Big Tobacco.
The biggest contradiction of the tobacco settlement is that a corporation, dependant on product sales for its survival, turned its back on good business practices and exploited its customers to make a deal that would transform it into a monopoly with a captive customer base. Contradictions cannot stand, as Philip Morris and its partners in the state houses will soon realize.
The time is ripe to balance the scale that Philip Morris and the attorneys general threw out of kilter. He lists the simple steps consumers can take to hurry the end of this bad deal. Both Big Tobacco and its partners in government must be forced to resume the roles, severed by the tobacco settlement, that served business and community for years.
Cancer Risk? Nicotine replacement therapy may do smokers more harm than good - April 7, 2003 - The ink is barely dry on the New York Smoking ban and, as Forces reported to its readers April 4, 2003 when we posted a link to "City Pitching In With `The Patch", New York City has spent $2.5 million to buy pharmaceutical nicotine patches to hand out as free samples. At least tobacco companies paid for their own free samples. It appears that anti-tobacco has raised nicotine peddling to a new art form: why not have the taxpayer pay for distributing free samples of what they describe as and stridently claim to be an addictive substance, nicotine?
But what about Stanford School of Medicine research that describes unique health risks of nonsmoked nicotine, risks that do not appear in cigarette smoked nicotine? What about a recent National Cancer Institute study that concluded nicotine in patches and gums may increase risks of cancer? And where does the department of health disclose to consumers that now more than 50 studies show the nicotine replacement products they are promoting are 85 percent ineffective in helping people quit smoking at one year or more?
We note with concern that neither New York Newsday nor the New York City Department of Public Health have disclosed to date those known risks of pharmaceutical nicotine as documented in credible medical studies. We observe anti-tobacco advocates engaging in the same behavior they have accused tobacco companies of doing: aggressively promoting addictive nicotine consumer products without disclosing known health risks of using them.
We now understand with clarity that Mayor Bloomberg's smoking ban is not, and cannot be, about public health. As we have said for quite some time, in the final analysis smoking bans are a brute intrusion of special-interest political clout into public policy to mandate a coerced consumer choice of inferior pharmaceutical nicotine products over competitive tobacco nicotine products.
Why should New York tavern and restaurant owners, as well as New York taxpayers, subsidize such a transparent sweetheart deal for Mayor Bloomberg's special-interest drug company cronies?
We post a reprint of Norman Kjono's feature Op-Ed article as published in the lawyers newspaper The Los Angeles Daily Journal January 29, 2003.
Rosemary's Baby. Washington State's Answer To Hard Times - February 25, 2003 - As published in Empire Entertainment -The Bar Paper, March 2003 edition - The living ain't easy in Washington these days. Like almost all of the states, Washington is facing a huge deficit. The clamor from the hardworking citizens to do something is intense. Action is needed and action is just what the taxpayers are getting. Too bad the action proposed by a few legislators who cannot see beyond their anti-tobacco blinkers cannot and will not help the hospitality industry. Quite the opposite. At a time when restaurants are begging for customers, two of Washington's finest are proposing a California-type smoking ban. Just what the doctor ordered. That will really pack them in!
Norman Kjono, a Washington resident, has seen it all and is familiar with the dynamics of smoking bans. The bottom line is that the only industry the benefits from smoking bans is the pharmaceutical industry. The marketing and lobbying efforts have paid off as some legislators are poised to take money from the restaurant business and hand it over to Big Drugs.