Skeptic magazine, bucking the standard media bias, has run a good article by Sidney Zion, a frequently harassed but stalwart critic of anti-smoking.
In the third issue for 2007, Skeptic magazine has printed an article by Sidney Zion, "Secondhand Smoke and Science: the Need for a Good Puff of Skepticism", an indictment of the political and social machinations that drive the current state of panic surrounding SHS/ETS. One of the best features of the article is its reference section, citing often overlooked sources as well as highlighting some of the nasty tricks pulled by health officials based on pathetic excuses for research. From Zion’s article:
As reported in "Passive smoking: How Great the Hazard?", Sir George [Godber, instructing the World Health Organization] said, "it would be essential to foster an atmosphere where it was perceived that active smokers would injure those around them, especially their family and infants or young children who would be exposed involuntarily to the smoke in the air."
The article attacks the "sleight-of-hand" by former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop in 1986 and the out-and-out reversal of the findings of the Congressional Research Service (CRS) report on SHS, thanks to the spin-doctoring of Henry Waxman and a "compliant press corps." The 94-page opinion handed down by Federal Judge Osteen condemning the 1992 EPA Report on ETS is cited—as well as the technicality on which his decision was reversed and the flip-flopping of the antismoking brigade toward Judge Osteen (p. 23). Quoting again from Skeptic:
When the City Council of New York was about to pass a law restricting smoking in bars—rough enough but before Michael Bloomberg’s absolute prohibition—I mentioned Osteen’s ruling to various Council members. The answer was always: "A North Carolina judge, are you kidding?"
But one year before his ruling on the EPA report, Judge Osteen handed down the worst-ever defeat for Big tobacc…The anti-smoking brigade loved him then…
Four years later the Fourth circuit Court of Appeals.reversed Osteen’s decision on a technicality…The anti-smoking crusaders hailed the ruling, saying the court had exonerated the EPA science. They did no such thing—Osteen’s shattering dismissal of the science was untouched by the circuit court judge and remains standing as fact.
Familiar key players, such as Stanton Glantz, John Banzhaf, Michael Siegel and Elizabeth Whelan are covered. Some specific reports are covered, including the Boffetta WHO study of 1998, but Zion overlooks another WHO-commissioned report (link: "Mortality from Cancer and Other Causes among Airline Cabin Attendants in Germany, 1960-1997"), which he should have noted, and which states (quote):
We found a rather remarkably low SMR [Standardized Mortality Ratio] for lung cancer among female cabin attendants and no increase for male cabin attendants, indicating that smoking and exposure to passive smoking may not play an important role in mortality in this group. Smoking during airplane flights was permitted in Germany until the mid-1990s, and smoking is still not banned on all charter flights.
The best quote of the Skeptic article, in effect condemning the social engineering of an older generation, is on page 21 of the article:
"Here was irony writ large: the famous baby boomers, who brought us hard drugs, hard rock and hard porn, morphed into the new prohibitionists."