Note the use of the word “perceived”. It implies that the hazards of secondhand smoke didn’t have to exist; merely that the public perception that secondhand smoke was harmful to family, friends and co-workers had to be created.
Although anti-smoker activism has been with us for hundreds of years, they had failed miserably to coerce people into quitting the habit. Mostly, they failed because they attacked smokers on moral grounds or insisting on their right to be free of the “sickening stench” of tobacco.
But with Sir George’s dictum that it was the perception of harm, not the reality, that would be most advantageous in attaining the objective of coercing people to quit, the opposition to smoking took a different tack. True to form, the truth became the first casualty in the war about to be waged against smokers.
First the faulty methodology of the science, followed by the exaggeration and distortion of the science, eventually graduating into outright lies and propaganda.
Tobacco control became a growth industry shortly after Sir George’s address to WHO.
Non-smoker’s rights groups, smoke-free this-and-that groups, and others in the anti-smoker brigade saw funding opportunities increase in direct proportion to the lie, with those making the most outrageous claims often being the biggest benefactors.
Few of these groups are, in fact, grassroots movements. They are structured from the top down. They are, more often than not, funded by the pharmaceutical industry and taxpayer dollars filtered down from the usurious tax burden placed on smokers to force them to kick the habit. And, if they had to survive through member “donations”, they’d likely have to fold their tents and steal away like any other thief in the night.
The public has been indoctrinated to believe that evidence contrary to the propaganda spouted by the prohibitionists is the work of “tobacco stooges”, and not to be believed. The public is largely unaware that these “organizations” are funded largely through taxes imposed on the smoking public and funding provided by the multi-billion dollar pharmaceutical industry.
They are wary of any studies funded by big tobacco, but readily accept the deceit of big pharma, because the information is processed through legitimate public health sources such as Health Canada, The Canadian Cancer Society and The Ontario Ministry of Health Promotion, among others. The problem, of course, is that even these organizations often receive substantial funding from the pharmaceutical giants.
The ultimate goal of the anti-smoker brigade is the outright prohibition of tobacco. Jim Watson (Ottawa-West Nepean MPP) declared his desire to make cigarettes illegal while serving as Ontario’s Minister of Health Promotion on April 9, 2006: "If I had my druthers I would not want to see tobacco anywhere in Canada….we know it kills people. If I had the ultimate authority to ban tobacco from the province or the country, of course I would."
Smokers themselves seem content to hang their heads in shame for choosing to use a perfectly legal product. They seem reluctant to fight back against what has become outright discrimination against smokers which would not be tolerated against any other minority group. They would do well to remember the words of Desiderada, “You are a child of the universe; you have a right to be here.”
This child of the universe chooses to smoke. No apologies.
Passive Smoking: An Institutional Problem – Fabricated Risks Attributed to Passive Smoking. Click on the link: Forces International