Vorige week publiceerden we hier een artikel over de situatie in de staat Washington, waar duidelijk werd dat de anti-rokers de politiek manipuleerden en daarna het kiezersvolk.
In een tweede artikel gaat dezelfde auteur, Norman Kjono, in op de getuigenissen van professionele anti-rokers als James Repace die bergen geld verdienen aan de anti-roken hype. Daarnaast gaat hij ook in op het misbruik dat werd gemaakt van het Helena Wonder, een onderzoek dat de naam onderzoek niet verdient, en op de gebeurtenissen rond het definiëren van ventilatiestandaarden voor de bestrijding van omgevingsrook.
Who is more culpable, more liable, more contemptible: tobacco companies that sold cigarettes for profit when the risks of tobacco use and alleged risks of Environmental Tobacco Smoke were largely unknown, or allegedly anti-tobacco activists who today insist that cigarettes continue to be sold to the public – and therefore alleged fatally toxic secondhand smoke continues to be created – to fund their programs and paychecks, when their own “studies” and proclamations now assert the products are highly toxic and deadly? It seems to me that lawsuits mentioned by The Tribune would be a trial lawyers dream in the case of anti-tobacco; tobacco control openly admits in the public record that they oppose eliminating a deadly product for profit-motivated reasons. Not only does such anti-tobacco reasoning expose the deeply hypocritical thinking and conflict-of-interest denial of tobacco control advocates but it also raises a serious public health policy concern. Is Washington and nationwide public policy regarding tobacco products driven in large part by the pecuniary interests of tobacco control advocates and their supporters, rather than credible and honest scientific information? Perhaps our legislature truly has a moral and professional duty to aggressively explore that question. If nothing else, massive prospective liability that the state may face due to the abject failure of tobacco control programs to achieve their alleged purposes should prompt legislators to being addressing that issue.
It could be said that a multi-hundred-million-dollar financial commitment by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to funding tobacco control advocacy is laudable and in the public good. After all, isn’t that foundation generously funding a worthwhile public goal to reduce smoking and to eliminate a “known killer,” Environmental Tobacco Smoke? Such characterization overlooks several important facts: first, as evidenced by historical trends for youth and adult smoking prevalence (see SMOKERATE.PDF) the result of anti-tobacco 1991 to 1998 Project ASSIST, including about $200 million in RWJ foundation grants to tobacco control advocates, was a dramatic increase in youth smoking, a stabilization of adult current smokers, and a reduction in former smokers; second, such results stand in stark contrast with – show a reversal of — decades-long previously-declining trends, notably during Joe Camel’s 1984 to 1988 campaign youth smoking decreased from beginning to end; third, such results provided a stabilized source consumer base for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s pharmaceutical constituents that distribute “Smoke Free” nicotine replacement products; fourth, smoking bans directly support a current written mercantile strategy to replace cigarettes with “deeply inhaled, fast acting, and highly addictive” pharmaceutical nicotine inhalers by “reducing opportunities to smoke” (see “XXX Products,” Forces.org); fifth, such results stabilized for at least one more generation the tobacco consumer base that would finance a twenty-five-year multi-hundred-billion-dollar tobacco settlement, open-ended funding for tobacco control advocates and their programs, plus new state taxes; and sixth, had preceding smoking prevalence trends before 1992 merely continued youth smoking rates would be about one-half of what they are today and adult smoker populations would be about 25 percent less.
Based on the foregoing it is fair to say to allegedly anti-tobacco activists that if they were truly concerned about reducing “early” deaths for tobacco use and reducing secondhand smoke the least they could have done was permit previously-declining smoking trends to continue, which is to say to do absolutely nothing. Had preceding trends continued – had tobacco control programs had no impact — Environmental Tobacco Smoke would be at least 25 percent less today because that is how far adult current smoker populations would have declined under those trends. Why was a nationwide smoking intervention conducted during the 1990s when it was clear that Joe Camel’s campaign failed to increase youth smoking nationwide and both youth and adult smoking rates were decreasing? Perhaps the answer is as obvious as special-interest funding of allegedly anti-tobacco activists: because were sharply declining youth and adult smoking rates to continue tax revenues to states would drop accordingly and a $200 billion-plus nationwide tobacco settlement would not be economically viable or politically possible. Which is to say, of course, that were previously declining youth and adult smoking rates to continue it would not be possible to levy $200 billion-plus new product-specific tax on lower income, less educated, higher unemployed, Blue Collar citizens that directly benefits professional class politicians, lawyers, doctors, and policy advocates, as well as state budgets.
It could also be said that results of tobacco control programs – outcomes opposite to goals that are touted – are just the luck of the draw that occurred for unexplained reasons. Perhaps, but a few deeply troubling facts counter that argument: first, for example, with both the smoking ban in Pierce County and I-890 we are confronted with a smoking ban that isn’t, both bans merely redefine where restaurant, tavern, bar and casino patrons will be allowed to smoke and neither accomplish the widely-touted purpose to “protect all workers;” second, despite the transparent reality that neither the Pierce County nor I-890 smoking bans accomplish what proponents claim supporters and advocates continue with them; third, the history of anti-tobacco activists and their organizations is the opposite of what one reasonably expects from those who genuinely support anti-tobacco goals as touted: those who support smoking bans in the name of “Clean Indoor Air” instead support OSHA Indoor Air Quality regulations being withdrawn to preserve their own interests and support smoking bans to prevent comprehensive Indoor Air Quality regulations, those who claim to be about reducing tobacco use object to state legislation to prohibit tobacco and thereby preserve their own program revenues, those who claimed to “Save the Children” from tobacco use persisted with fatally-flawed youth anti-tobacco programs through five consecutive years of increasing youth smoking rates 1992 to 1997, those who promote themselves as protecting all workers from secondhand smoke in Pierce County aggressively employed an out-of-state special-interest “Model Ordinance” county smoking ban that does not and cannot accomplish that end, and those who claim to be about protecting all workers through I-890 would expand that unworkable model statewide in Washington.