Zonder enige waarschuwing werd Dr. Michael Siegel afgelopen week uit een belangrijk anti-tabaksforum geschopt. De aanleiding was een post die hij daar had geplaatst waarin hij de huidige ontwikkelingen in de beweging scherp kritiseerde:
“For many years, tobacco companies and many other opponents of tobacco control policies have accused the tobacco control movement of engaging in junk science, especially regarding the health effects of secondhand smoke.
For example, we have been accused of cherry-picking the science on secondhand smoke, making up the science, and spreading scientific claims that are implausible and therefore junk.
But recently, I believe that junk science has actually entered the anti-smoking movement.”
De censuur in de anti-rokenbeweging is nu algemeen geworden, zegt Siegel op zijn blog, en afwijkende meningen worden niet meer gerespecteerd. Maar de geloofwaardigheid van de beweging wordt met de dag kleiner.
You have to conform to the established dogma and prevailing wisdom of the
movement, no matter how outrageous are the actions being taken by, and claims
being made by anti-smoking groups. You absolutely cannot criticize; if you do,
you risk being expelled from the movement, at least in terms of your ability to
express your opinion in any tobacco control discussion forum. This is now the
second list-serve from which I have been expelled for expressing my opinions and
interfering with the “quality” of the list-serve discussions.
It has become apparent to me that these list-serve “discussions” are not
really “discussions” at all. Instead, they amount to little more than a system
of forced indoctrination of prevailing views onto anti-smoking advocates. You
either have to conform to the dictates of the movement, or you’re out of there,
at least if you let it be known that you do not conform. I’m sure there are many
others who, like myself, find a lot of the health claims being spewed out by
anti-smoking groups to be exaggerated, if not inaccurate, but who are afraid to
express their opinions because the lack of conformity to the doctrines of the
movement will result in negative repercussions for their own careers. And seeing
what has happened to me, I understand why they feel that way. They are correct –
if they do express their opinions, they will be placing their careers in
Now I see how it is that the anti-smoking movement has been able to get
away with making such completely implausible and absurd claims as they have been
(like the 40% decline in heart attacks due to a smoking ban in Helena or the 30
minutes of secondhand smoke exposure causing hardening of the arteries). It
isn’t necessarily that everyone in the movement believes this crap. It’s that
those who don’t believe it are afraid to speak out publicly because they would
be risking serious repercussions, including potentially being censored, expelled
from discussion groups, or most importantly, having their funding and
The rest of the story is that there simply is not room for the truth in
the anti-smoking movement. The perceived success of the movement is falsely
believed to rely on the ability to say, do, and claim anything, as long as it
advances the anti-smoking cause. And anything or anyone who attempts to hold the
movement to scientific accuracy and truth is therefore perceived as a serious
threat to the movement – a threat which must be removed. The call for the whole
truth, and nothing but the truth, cannot be tolerated. There just isn’t room for
that in the movement’s current group-think mentality.