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Friday, 12 February 2010

Lies, damn lies and Second Hand Smoke

Dissecting Antismokers’ Brains
As a smoker of many years standing, going about my merry way without a care and enjoying life to the full, I was completely caught unawares as to the storm that was brewing against me and my fellow smokers.  Oh, I knew about smoking bans, especially the ban in New York, but my apathy caught up with me as smoker bans got even closer to these shores, first Ireland, then Scotland…now I feel like a clubbed seal!  Where does all this denormalisation shit come from?
American author, Michael J. McFadden has written a pamphlet to help the likes of me understand the history, hysteria and just plain lies behind the anti smoking movement.  Along with Christopher Snowdon and Richard White, Michael is a ‘must read’ writer of note and much praise has quite rightly gone his way.
Here is the first instalment of his pamphlet, The Stiletto, to help the likes of you and me understand what drives the anti smoker and the likes of ASH et al.  First, part of the preamble by Michael:
“Smokers often find themselves in the uncomfortable position of defending their chosen practice against accusations by family, friends, or even complete strangers that they are harming people around them. That accusation has been the basis for smoking bans extending far beyond reason and is usually backed up by vague waves at "mountains of studies," claims that "all the experts agree," assurances that bans will be "cost-free" and "won't hurt employment," and the repetition of empty but powerful sound bites learned from MTV and professional press-releases.”
You CAN Stop This Ban!

Smoking bans are based upon lies:

Lies about the health effects of small amounts of smoke upon workers, lies about customer demands, and lies about the expected economic effects on bars, entertainment venues, and small restaurants.
The antismoking lobby lies about these things because they know politicians would never pass these bans based only on the demands of noisy extremists forcing unwanted laws on their fellow citizens. They lie because they know that if a ban’s true economic consequences were explored openly, business owners would unite in protest.
They lie simply because the truth does not support their goal of banning smoking.

These bans CAN be stopped if bar and other business owners work together in educating their staff and customers about the lies behind the bans and encourage them to speak out and contact their legislators.

Expose the lies.
Get people angry.

The Health Arguments

Antismokers claim that scientific studies prove that second-hand smoke is killing workers.  If that were true then smoking bans might be justified despite business losses and social disruption. Because of the media power of billions of taxpayer dollars most people have come to believe that such claims are true.
They are not.  Quite plainly and simply....

There has never been a single study showing that the low level of smoke in bar/restaurants with modern ventilation systems kills ANYONE.  Even most studies of intense unventilated lifelong daily exposure fail the most basic research standard of statistical significance.
So why does the news keep saying secondary smoke is a killer? 
Simple: a lot of money, and a lot of trickery… for a “good cause”. They have no scruples at all about things like pretending that an asthma death simply taking place near a smoker, must have been caused by the smoker - regardless of evidence.
Antismoking extremists subvert our legislatures with campaign money, surprise legislation, and misleading press releases. They have over 800 million dollars a year to spend on “Tobacco Control” and they’re not afraid to use it to eradicate smoking.

They use a lot of that money to design studies giving the "proper" results and publicize those results over and over again as though they were new studies rather than just old recycled ones. The media accepts their propaganda unquestioningly since it's assumed they are the "good guys" and have no reason to lie.
Bad assumption.
The Antismoking Lobby believes its true end goal, the elimination of smoking, is important enough to justify all sorts of lying along the way.  And the most effective lie they've found is that "Secondhand Smoke Kills."
At New York’s 1975 World Conference on Smoking and Health, Antismoking activists were told that to eliminate smoking it would first be essential to create an atmosphere in which it was perceived that active smokers would injure those around them, especially their family and any infants or young children…”
- Huber. Consumers Research Magazine. 04/92

When they first created this lie they had no evidence at all to support it, but began pumping money into creating what they needed.  Today, billions of dollars later, they can point to a pile of very equivocal studies, ignore their weaknesses and lack of real findings, and simply claim they all “prove” the need for smoking bans.
They do not. The great majority of them fail even the bare minimum standard of statistical significance. Some even indicate a protective effect from secondary smoke!
There's no way to disprove every single study in a few pages, but we can show the frauds behind the major ones used by Antismoking Lobbyists. These studies were all cited by the Surgeon General in 2006 to push his call for smoking bans. Read these five examples and realize that the same shenanigans surrounding these “major” studies also occur every day in reports about new ones.
The Great Helena Heart Fraud
(R.P. Sargent et al. Reduced incidence of admissions for myocardial infarction associated with public smoking ban…” BMJ 2004; 328: 977-980 & Rapid Responses)
On April 1st, 2003, the "Great Helena Heart Miracle" claimed people “protected” from smoke saw a quick 60% drop in heart attacks: “absolute proof” that bans protect innocent people!   Actually, the researchers never examined exposure to smoke, never corrected for confounders, and explicitly refused to reveal the data for nonsmokers while presenting the news as if it was all about nonsmokers!
The Helena study was deliberately distorted and used to manipulate people into supporting smoking bans which have then done enormous harm to their lives and livelihoods.
A final point: The actual initial study charts showed the drop only occurred in the first 3 months when angry smokers partied out of town in the warm fall weather. It bounced back to normal when the Montana winter got cold and smokers returned to town. Not a bounce back after the ban as Anti-smokers have repeatedly claimed. Just another lie, but only known to those with access to the internet pages of the British Medical Journal.

Update: A new study, based on government data and 1,000 times as large as Helena (315,000 heart attacks!) showed smoking bans actually have no effect on heart attacks. The Kuneman/McFadden study, available at, has been publicly confirmed by noted Antismoking physician Dr. Michael Siegel, and has been featured by the American Council on Science and Health. Meanwhile however, the news media has hyped repeated copycat studies in NY, Italy, and elsewhere while ignoring their defects and feeding the fires of fear that drive smoking bans.

Advancing falsehoods to promote social engineering of free people is abhorrent, but it’s being done every day by the Antismoking Lobby. And The Great Helena Heart Fraud Study is far from being the only example.
The 53 Bartenders Study
(Eisner et al. Bartenders’ Respiratory Health…. JAMA.1998; 280: 1909-1914)
Huge headlines were made in 1998 when a study claimed to show a dramatic improvement in the health of California bartenders after a smoking ban.

Those headlines never mentioned three important facts though:
  • At least 24 of the 53 bartenders were smokers who obviously smoked less after the ban. All 53 were friendly enough toward the ban that they agreed to participate in the study: many others refused. Thus the study pool was strongly skewed from the very beginning!
  • Most “improvements” noted were purely subjective: “I don’t notice my eyes itching as much.” or “I don’t think I cough as much now.”
  • The one scientific difference, a small improvement in some Pulmonary Function Tests, was both below clinically significant levels and quite sensitive to both experimenter effect and patient effort.
Finally, if you actually read the study rather than the headlines, you once again find the claim of causality is not quite what it appears: Eisner actually wrote that “the possibility that unmeasured (infections) or reduced active smoking could still partially explain the observed improvement… reduced ETS exposure… was associated with improved adult respiratory health… smoking prohibition appears to have immediate beneficial effects...” (emphases added)

“Possibilities of unmeasured partial explanations… Associated with…. Appears to have...” Not quite the way the story made big headlines. Certainly nothing showing any long term harm. And quite certainly nothing like the definitive statement of causality that was blasted over the media.

The Restaurant Workers Study
(M. Siegel. Involuntary Smoking In The Restaurant Workplace. JAMA Vol. 270 #4, 1993)

In 1993 Dr. Michael Siegel combined six different studies to claim that secondary smoke was giving bar/restaurant workers a 50% risk increase in lung cancer. New York’s Mayor Bloomberg cited Siegel to justify NY’s ban, claiming Siegel had “carefully controlled” for workers’ smoking statuses.
If you actually read Siegel you’ll find that none of the six studies really “carefully controlled” for individual smoking status. Only one of them even asked about it. The others just used statistics.
In almost every case, Siegel seemed to pick careful subsets of workers to support his argument. If the males in one study had low lung cancer and the females had high… he picked the females. If the bartenders in another study had high and the food counter workers had low… he picked the bartenders. If the original authors cautioned against others using their data because it was unstable/unrepresentative, he simply ignored the warnings and used it anyway.
In the formal setting of the medical journal Siegel stated that, even with all the adjustments he had made, the evidence merely "suggested that there may be a 50% increase in lung cancer risk among food-service workers that is in part attributable to tobacco smoke exposure in the workplace."
"Suggested" there "may be" increased risk that was "in part" “attributable to tobacco smoke? Well, once the media got the story the qualifiers went out the window. The NY Times and USA Today reported that Siegel’s study showed smoking bans were a “life and death issue” for workers with secondary smoke having a “devastating effect” on their health.
Just as with Helena and the 53 bartenders, the hype and flaws in the basic study design extended and grew to blatantly fraudulent proportions once the spotlight of the media was acquired.

Bans Reduce Bar Air Pollution by 81, no, 87, no, 93% !
(Many similar repeated studies in the past three years)
About three years ago two antismoking researchers hit upon a wonderful idea: measure the smoke in a bar before a ban, then do it again after a ban, and “discover” that there was less smoke!
Of course that wouldn’t get a $100,000 grant or a spot on the Six O'clock News by itself. So they took a visible element of smoke, the “fine particulate matter” (FPM), pretended that it was the same as deadly FPM from cars and industrial smog, and declared that bartenders were now safer because the “EPA’s hazardous level of air pollution” was reduced by various amazing amounts!
This particular scam has brought millions of dollars to antismoking radicals in cities all over the world where they keep “discovering” over & over & over again that there’s less smoke in the air if no one is smoking!
To call it “air pollution” and pretend they are measuring the same thing as the EPA is almost like taking a tablespoon of sugar crystals and saying it is “the same thing” as a tablespoon of cyanide crystals.
Once again, a clever and catchy scare story for the media: Bartenders dying from smoky “air pollution”. It’s a study that is being repeated in city after city for ban after ban in news story after news story. But once again, it’s simply an outright fraud when dissected.

The 30 Minute Heart Attack Study
(Otsuka, R. et al. Acute Effects of Passive Smoking…. JAMA. Vol 286. #4. 2001)
In July of 2001, Ryo Otsuka supposedly showed that simply sharing a room with a smoker for 30 minutes could kill you. The hype and fraud flashed around the world with the same roar that later greeted Helena, but again if you actually read the study rather than just the headlines you’d find that:
  • The smoke level (6ppm CO) was 300% higher than smoking seats of pressurized airplanes. This was not just “a room with a smoker” or a ventilated bar. Other studies use smoke chambers with up to 40 ppm 2,000% more smoke than in a smoky airplane cabin!
  • The study used nonsmokers who religiously avoided smoke in their daily lives, forced them to sign papers acknowledging potentially dangerous conditions and then stuck them in a smoke-choked room. The actual result? A small blood level change similar to what’s seen after a meal. The most amazing thing is that there were no heart attacks just from the stress!
  • There was no control. Even a school science project would have had a sham model and “protocol signing” with subjects exposed to harmless but irritating odors and fog. The control study results would probably have been identical.
  • Why wasn’t such a control set up? Could it be simply that the results would have negated the point of the study and the Antismoking grant money would have dried up? Perhaps… I honestly can’t think of any other reason. Otsuka’s study didn’t show a physical reaction to smoke: it showed a physical reaction to fear and stress… conditions promoted more by Antismokers than by smoke.
Otsuka is at fault for deliberately using extreme experimental conditions without reasonable controls. The media is at fault in not reporting those conditions or the likely reaction of extreme nonsmokers. And Smoking Prohibitionists are at fault for using this study to convince people that simply being near smokers for 30 minutes causes heart attacks.

This study and its abuse is an example of
fear-mongering in the ugliest sense.
Health Bites

The Antismoking Lobby has perfected the art of media sound bites. Short, sweet, sticky to the mind, almost totally void of meaning … but deadly in their effectiveness. They are just more lies though, and if you know them you can laugh when you hear them. Some to watch for:
Antismokers claim smoking causes 400,000 deaths a year.
(Actually, this is a computer generated imaginary number. And half of those imaginary deaths occur after age 72 … almost 20% of them after age 85!)
Antismokers claim scientific studies are unanimous and unequivocal in proving secondary smoke is killing thousands from lung cancer.
(Actually, the vast majority fail to find even a basic statistically significant link. The UN’s huge 1998 study actually found significant protection from lung cancer in children exposed to secondary smoke at home!)

Antismokers claim smoke contains 4,000 poisons and carcinogens.
(Actually, the EPA can only identify 432: the rest are theory. In toxicology “The dose makes the poison.” Nonsmokers never absorb enough smoke to even approach OSHA safety concern levels for any of them!)
Antismokers claim secondary smoke is just like Asbestos and Radon.
(Actually, sunshine, beer and sawdust are also all Class A Carcinogens.)

Antismokers claim having a non-smoking section in a restaurant is the same as having a non-pissing section in a pool.
(Actually, since pool water is changed about 1x/year and the air in a decent restaurant is changed about 50,000x/year, they’re not the same at all!)
Antismokers claim California’s extreme bans reduced lung cancer by 14%.
(Actually, that drop occurred in 1996… two years before their total ban!)
Antismokers claim that uncounted masses of hospitality workers are dying every year from secondary smoke.
(Actually, “uncounted” is absolutely right… they must all be stacked in a pile next to Saddam Hussein’s nukes and watched over by OJ’s “real killer.”)

Health Conclusion

All five are “Flagship Studies” repeated by radicals at public hearings. All five are the “best and the brightest” of the “mountain of studies” that supposedly “prove” smoking bans save lives. And all five are fraudulently used by antismoking lobbyists to scare people into supporting government mandated smoking bans.
Consider this question:

If they had the truth… Why would they lie?

Simple: people would never accept this degree of government meddling in their private lives just on the basis of annoyance. It’s the “threat to public health” based on these studies that has made bans politically acceptable.
Smoking decisions in individual businesses should be based on the needs and desires of their customers and workers. There is absolutely no justification from a public health standpoint for universal smoking bans. They are simply social engineering tools used to push a radical agenda.
Antismoking extremists are fundamentally no different from the Alcohol Prohibitionists of the last century, but their tools, tricks, and media techniques are much more sophisticated. Rather than try imme-diately for a socially unacceptable total prohibition they simply plan to keep reducing the number of smokers by more and more bans and taxes.
If smokers, businesses, and the wider public can be shown how much they’ve been lied to, the era of widespread smoking bans will be over. Smoking will continue to be banned in certain private venues by their owners’ decisions, but those decisions will be driven by the proven value of business owners seeking to please their particular blend of customers.
That’s how America was meant to work, and that’s the way it will work once again when the fraud built around secondary smoke is sufficiently exposed.
Copyright 2008 By
Michael J. McFadden
Author of Dissecting Antismokers’ Brains

Hat Tip to The Smoker’s Club


Michael J. McFadden said...

Hey! :) Good to know the Stiletto is helping out over in the UK as well! I'd like to note that the section presented above may seem a little superficial in its analyses, but that's because the Stiletto is presented as a big-print, easy to read, handout-type booklet meant to be casually paged through in bar/restaurant type settings by people who might not ordinarily want to sit down and read a whole book on the subject.

You can read a bit more about the Stiletto as well as read/download/print the newly updated 2010 of the "New Stiletto" at:

Please feel free to print it out, bind it as suggested, and give it to you favorite pub or your least favorite Antismoker. Hehh... it really IS funny to watch an Antismoker go through it trying to find something to argue with! It gives them headaches!!

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

TheBigYin said...

Sorry about the omission Michael, it has been amended and the link added to the words The Stiletto.

Michael J. McFadden said...

No Problem Yin! :) I was actually very honored to see you liked it enough to post it here!


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