Thursday, June 17, 2010

Throw smokers into the street say anti-smokers

“[E]thical concerns can be minimized by prohibiting the act of smoking on the premises rather than prohibiting the occupation of public-housing units by people who smoke.”

So reads the latest diatribe by anti-smoker fanatics in the US, trying to convince governments (and the public) that smokers are a sub-human species who are not entitled to even the most basic of human rights. This time their target is smokers living in public housing. They want the government to toss smokers living in public housing into the street. Uh-huh.

A paper produced by Jonathan P. Winickoff, M.D., M.P.H., Mark Gottlieb, J.D., and Michelle M. Mello, J.D., Ph.D., and published in the New England Journal of Medicine, concludes that: “The use of federal regulatory or contractual mechanisms to ensure that PHAs implement no smoking policies in public housing raises ethical concerns and practical challenges; however, it is justified in light of the harms resulting from exposure to tobacco smoke, the lack of other avenues of legal redress for nonsmoking residents of public housing, and the languid pace at which PHAs have voluntarily implemented no-smoking policies.”

The militant misfits in the anti-smoker cult employ semantics like an army employs weapons of mass destruction. They believe mere words can obfuscate the illegitimacy of their demands and hide their true intent.

They're not “prohibiting the occupation of public-housing units by people who smoke,” they're prohibiting smoking. In other words, if the damn smokers will just bow to the great gods of the anti-smoker cult, kiss their collective ass, lick the jackboots of their high priests and give up their smoking habit, all will be well. They'll be allowed to live in public housing, just like normal people.

And, if not . . . well, those foolish smokers will be the authors of their own misfortune and they can damn well lie in the gutter where they belong. What a wonderfully simple, and simplistic, solution to a problem which has not been proven to exist.

The proposals in this paper seek to undermine the very purpose of social housing which was designed, in Canada at least, to provide clean, affordable housing to the most vulnerable members of society; the elderly, the disabled, low income wage earners, those on fixed incomes and the otherwise disadvantaged. The very people who, according to the anti-smoker cult, are most likely to be smokers.

With all the deceit and deception in this paper, it's difficult to know where to begin. So, let's start with the attempt by the authors to define the need and persuade readers of this document that there is strong public support for these proposals.

According to Winickoff et al., “Survey findings indicate that tenants are often bothered by tobacco smoke and that four out of five nonsmokers would prefer a smoke-free building policy.”

First, they may have a survey which shows that “tenants are often bothered by tobacco smoke”. But, they also have a study which claims that third hand smoke is a serious health menace, which does not exactly inspire me with confidence. In fact, it was written by the same anti-smoker zealot as this latest piece of bullshit.

And, although I recognize that polls conducted in Canada may not mirror those in the US, a March 30, 2007 research poll by Decima Research prepared for Health Canada, asks the question:
“In your current residence, how often have you experienced smoke drifting or seeping into your personal living space?”

Almost four out of five responded that they had never (64%) or rarely (15%) experienced secondhand smoke drifting or seeping into their unit. An additional 9% said they “sometimes” experienced secondhand smoke seeping into their units. Only 10%claimed it was a common occurrence (Often – 5%; Very Often - 5%)

These responses were from residents of MURBs (Multi Unit Residential Buildings). But, if 79% had never or rarely experienced the mystical penetration of smoke through solid walls, through toggle switches and wall receptacles, plumbing fixtures, etc., then maybe, just maybe, the problem isn't as bad as they make it out to be.

The fact that 4 out of 5 non-smokers would prefer a smoke-free building policy doesn't really tell me very much. I did a survey at the Legion just this afternoon. I found that 13 out of 13 drinkers said they would prefer to drink in a pub or Legion hall which served free draft between the hours of 12 noon and closing. Hell, even the bar maid was on our side.

The fact that 4 out of 5 (That number, by the way, is similar to the Canadian poll results.) would prefer a smoke free building doesn't mean they support throwing smokers into the street. And, it should also be noted that, when asked if they'd be willing to pay more for the privilege, 69% said no. That suggests support for a smoke free building could be very soft indeed.

In fact, the same Decima Research poll showed that 72% of non-smokers agreed completely, or mostly, with the statement “People who smoke tobacco products should have the right to do so in their home.”

The truth is that the anti-smoker crowd is not responding to a problem, they are trying hard to create one. And, with their “end justifies the means” philosophy, that means the bullshit and bafflegab will be flying fast and furious.

The odour will be intolerable. Likely as bad as the aroma of tobacco smoke. In fact, probably a damn sight worse.

I'll address some of the other issues contained in this propaganda piece in my next post.

Additional Reading:
Check out Christopher Snowdon's article on the latest bullshit from Winickoff, the renowned inventor of third hand smoke, at
Velvet Glove, Iron Fist

Or, read a few of my previous posts on the subject, Thru Solid Walls and The Supernatural Powers of SHS

1 comment:

Michael J. McFadden said...

Wonderfully detailed analysis Rambler! I have to admit, I couldn't even stomach reading the entire study, let along analyzing it as well as you have.

To see just how crazy Winnie Da Poo's last reesearch project was, read my Aftercomments to the Global Health Law article at:

and then think about how many three trillion year old babies with floor licking fetishes you've known.

What motivates people to do research like this? Is it simple greed for grant money and prestige? Read this article about Big Pharma's fraudulent research today at:

It is, in my opinion, VERY likely that antismoking research has far more fraudulence, maybe even double the amount or more, than that of standard grant-seeking type research. Why do I believe that? Simple: I think most people are honest enough to try to avoid such cheating, particularly in the field of science. But in the antismoking realm there is a double motivation: not only is there a ton of money to be made (and that money only coming from one "side" in the issue) but the researchers are able to sleep at night knowing that even if they had to "fudge the data" a bit they did it "for a good cause."

Someday the true depth of the fraudulence behind so much secondhand smoke research will be exposed - but meanwhile a helluva lot of damage to people's lives and livelihoods is being done.

Michael J. McFadden,
Author of "Dissecting Antismokers' Brains"