Thursday, June 29, 2006

Creating Outcast Americans

This CNN headline, presented as a quote from a federal official, is absurdly false.

Surgeon General: No safe level of secondhand smoke.

NO SAFE LEVEL. There are no qualifications, no mitigating factors, no dose levels or exposure durations without risk to safety. The laws of physics are proportionate but molecules dispersed in air possess an absolute. - I don't think so. - Passionate hatred has a way of purging reason from thought and anti-smoking zealots hate tobacco.
Killing the Passive Smoke Debate: But none of this has the least impact on the various federal, state, and city agencies and organizations like the American Lung Association for a very good reason. They already know they’re scientifically wrong. The purpose of the passive smoking campaign has never been to protect non-smokers, but rather to cow smokers into giving up the habit. It’s easy to agree with the ultimate goal, but inventing scientific outcomes and shutting down scientific debate as a means is as intolerable as it was when Nazi Germany “proved” the validity of eugenics.
The corruption of science for political ends is one of the most disturbing trends in public discourse. Activists working to manipulate emotions shamelessly concoct horror stories that are a mix of objective numbers like “126 million nonsmoking Americans”, and subjective concepts like safety. The hodge podge intends to imply the conclusions are true so the recommendations should be followed.
What Risk? Some general principles emerge. (i) Since all organisms have repair mechanisms against environmental damage, there are thresholds for all damaging agents. Therefore, extrapolation from high dose rates to very low levels does not make sense. (ii) Doses and dose rates should not be confused. (iii) There are very large species differences in response to damaging agents. (iv) Unrecognized variables lurk everywhere. (v) The costs of enforcing demonstrably false standards are huge.
The anti-smoking advocates consciously choose to use psychological tactics on the American public. One milestone is making indoor smoking socially unacceptable. The next goal is to make individual smokers into social pariahs to be shunned and avoided. The method is to create fear in the public in excess of reasonable and justifiable concerns.
Wisconsin Tobacco Control Policies: By 1986, health advocates began to mobilize for action that favored an institutional rather than an individual strategy. ... 1986 Surgeon General’s Report on environmental tobacco smoke, “The Health Consequences of Involuntary Smoking.” This report transformed the nature of the debate about smoking from one of “personal right” to “harm to others.”
Truth is good and liberty is good and safety is good, but pursuit of the risk free life at the expense of honesty and freedom is unworthy of the medical profession.