Thursday, January 13, 2011

Is the US Surgeon General a liar?

Anti-smoking activist Michael Siegel announced the winner of his 2010 Tobacco Control “Lie of the Year” award in December . This year's recipient, the Office of the United States Surgeon General, was announced with little fanfare and no press coverage via an article on Siegel's blog, Tobacco Analysis.

According to Siegel's article: “The Surgeon General's office takes the award for disseminating widely throughout the media the blatant lie that even brief exposure to secondhand smoke can cause cardiovascular disease and that inhaling even the smallest amount of tobacco smoke causes cancer.”

Of course, if the office of the SG is disseminating a lie, then US Surgeon General Regina Benjamin is a liar.

Last week, Siegel noted that the ANR (Americans for Non-smokers Rights) was claiming that "there are virtually no health disparities between active and passive smoking." In other words, the risk of heart disease associated with secondhand smoke is the same as the risk from active smoking. The ANR was a runner-up in Siegel's Tobacco Control Lie of the Year Contest.

According to Siegel, “These false claims are damaging because they undermine decades of public education about the hazards of active smoking. They represent a lie that is every bit as false as anything the tobacco industry has fraudulently asserted in the historical annals of tobacco industry lies and deception.”

In October, 2009, a “committee of experts” from the US Institute of Medicine, in a study sponsored by the CDC, claimed: “Smoking bans reduce the risk of heart attacks associated with secondhand smoke.”

The committee concluded that: “Although there is no direct evidence that a relatively brief exposure to secondhand smoke could precipitate a heart attack, the committee found the indirect evidence compelling. Data on particulate matter in smoke from other pollution sources suggest that a relatively brief exposure to such substances can initiate a heart attack, and particulate matter is a major component of secondhand smoke.”

Dr. Siegel headlined his blog entry: “Institute of Medicine report's conclusions on smoking ban effects are defied by its own assertions; study conclusions, press release severely biased.”

According to Siegel, “ . . . the report draws conclusions that are essentially meaningless from an epidemiologic and clinical perspective. What the report does is take important questions and distort them so much that the answers no longer have any meaning.” That sounds very much like a lie.

Some very interesting remarks. The Office of the Surgeon General is guilty of a blatant lie; remarks made by the ANR represent a lie as big as any made by the tobacco industry; an IOM report distorts the science beyond all meaning.

Now, if those accusations were being bandied about by some insignificant blogger like the Old Rambler, then the main stream media would perhaps be justified in their failure to comment on the rather dubious honour Siegel bestowed on the Surgeon General and Americans for Non-smoker's Rights.

But, the accusation didn't originate with some lowly blogger expressing his opinion and exercising his right to freedom of speech. The allegations of dishonesty come from a medical doctor and a staunch anti-smoking advocate; a professor on the faculty of Boston University School of Public Health. And, charges that the Surgeon General and the ANR are playing fast and loose with the truth and deliberately deceiving the public is not something that should be taken lightly.

Yet, the main stream media ignore the lies and misrepresentations of fact.

In his latest blog entry, Siegel points out more dishonesty from the anti-smoker zealots. This time it's ASH (Action on Smoking and Health) which is claiming that electronic cigarettes are deadly “due to the nicotine, propylene glycol, carcinogens, and other toxins delivered to the user. ASH also implies that the electronic vapor can be deadly to non-users.”

After explaining why those claims are dishonest, Siegel notes: “I do not criticize ASH for promoting a ban on vaping on airplanes. However, I strongly criticize ASH for supporting such a ban by lying to its constituents and by grossly distorting the science.”

Do any of these anti-smoker zealots tell the truth?

In closing his article, Siegel notes: “Coming on the heels of my revelations that a large number of other prominent, national anti-smoking organizations are lying to the public (including the FDA, Surgeon General's office, and Americans for Nonsmokers' Rights), this story makes it compellingly clear that the scientific integrity of the anti-smoking movement is imploding.” Uh-huh.

All those lies, and, still not a peep from the main stream media. A compelling argument could be made that the media is complicit in the deception(s) being perpetrated by the anti-smoker fanatics and the dehumanization of those who choose to smoke.

And what should we make of this comment in the Oneida Daily Dispatch. “New York State tobacco control advocates . . . are descending on Albany to educate New York leaders about the important role tobacco use prevention and cessation have in preventing youth initiation and reducing healthcare costs.”

For politicians in any jurisdiction to be “educated” by the lying bastards in tobacco control . . . now, that's a scary thought.

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