Wisconsin defiance update
E-cigs big tobacco ploy; Smoke Free Wisconsin
April 27, 2009
The electronic cigarette is under increasing attack from anti-smoker cultists who take a quit or die approach to tobacco control. The question is why?
In a recent article on their blog, Smoke Free Wisconsin declares unequivocally: “E-cigarettes: the latest ploy by Big Tobacco to hook kids”
The blog entry offers this advice: “Right now, e-cigarettes can be purchased in kiosks across the country and on the Internet. The FDA has not approved the use of e-cigarettes and there are no controls to monitor the age of purchasers. E-cigarettes are often made to look like conventional tobacco products and are marketed to kids by producing them in fruit flavors”.
The problem is that there is absolutely no evidence that the e-cig has any connection to the tobacco industry or that it is being marketed to children or to hook kids on smoking, despite coming in “fruit flavours”. And, it should be noted that the NRT (nicotine replacement therapy) products (Nicorettes, the Nicorette Inhaler, etc.) offered by Pfizer and other pharmaceutical companies also come in fruit flavours and are also available to children.
Smoke Free Wisconsin is following the lead of other public health advocates, including the American Cancer Society, American Heart Association, American Lung Association and the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. These groups have issued a press release commending US Senator Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey for demanding that the FDA remove e-cigarettes from the marketplace.
The press release notes that: “Makers and retailers of these products (e-cigs) have been making unproven health claims about their products, claiming that they are safer than normal cigarettes and asserting that they can help people to quit smoking. Absent scientific evidence, these claims are in blatant violation of FDA rules.”
But that assertion is misleading. Visits to many different websites found no evidence that they were being touted as “smoking cessation aids.” Those sites reviewed carried a disclaimer that the e-cig was not intended for use by non-smokers, adult or otherwise, nor was it intended as a smoking cessation aid.
There are claims made on these sites that, because there is no combustion involved, the e-cig is free of the toxic compounds encountered smoking conventional cigarettes. But, this is a legitimate claim.
And there are a number of reliable experts in the field of tobacco control who support that claim.
Dr Joel Nitzkin, Chair of the Tobacco Control Task Force for the American Association of Public Health Physicians, for example, says: “…we have every reason to believe that the hazard posed by e-cigarettes would be much lower than one percent. So if we can figure that the nicotine in the e-cigarettes is basically a generic version of the same nicotine that is in prescription (NRT) products, we have every reason to believe that the hazard posed by e-cigarettes would be much lower than one percent, probably much lower than one tenth of one percent of the hazard posed by regular cigarettes.”
Dr. Nitzkin notes the lack of any real research or clinical trials on the e-cig, and points out that what safety information is available is on delivery as a straight nicotine product. But, he notes clinical trials may not be possible. Any trials would require the participation of non-smokers, for example, because the outcome would be compromised by previous smoking habits if smokers were used. Such studies might never be approved. And, even if they were, they would likely take a decade or more.
So, an outright ban on the e-cig would deprive smokers of the potential harm reduction available through its use, likely in perpetuity. But if clinical trials are impossible, how could the relative safety of the e-cigs be determined?
Says Dr. Nitzkin: “Well, the first thing which I don’t really see as research is quality controlled assessment by an independent lab on an ongoing basis, batch by batch, to make sure that the chemical content is not contaminated by heavy metals or cancer causing substances. They would also need to make sure that the doses are accurate as stated”.
Unfortunately, the anti-smoker cult doesn’t intend to endorse the harm reduction strategy advocated by some public health organizations and activists, because it may encourage young people to take up smoking.
But, let’s give Dr. Nitzkin the last word. “There is a danger. We don’t know how much of a danger there is. Now let me put it yet another way. Cigarettes currently cause 400,000 deaths a year in the United States. If we get all those smokers to switch from regular cigarettes to e cigarettes or one of the other alternate nicotine delivery products we would reduce that death toll from 400,000 a year to less than 4,000 a year, maybe as low as 400 a year. Now, if we addicted every man, woman and child in the United States to e-cigarettes – we currently have 20% of the American population using tobacco products – and we’d multiply that by 5, so even at our worst estimates of 4,000 deaths a year you’d have 20,000 deaths a year that’s still a huge reduction from 400,000 a year.”
A potential 95% reduction in deaths? So, just why is the anti-smoker cult so dead set against the e-cig.
THROUGH THE SMOKE
11 June 2008
Operation Mollycoddle aims to ban the ban
The Ban the Ban Wisconsin website (http://banthebanwisconsin.com
) is produced by a smoker and a non-smoker strongly against the proposed ban on smoking on privately-owned property, such as bars and clubs, in the US state of Wisconsin.
Ryan Evans’ and Joey Monson’s goal is to advocate for the individual’s right to choose based on facts and the truth, without government interference, oppressive legislation or special interest pressure.
They say the Wisconsin smoking ban is “based on questionable public health claims that are being perpetuated by special interest groups with the explicit goal of the complete abolition of smoking.”
People opposed to the ban can download a petition to sign and send off to Governor Jim Doyle and the Wisconsin State Legislature to support the claim that the smoking ban is a gross abuse of power and a violation of freedom.
The site has an economic impacts (of the ban on taverns) page, a “myths and facts” page about smoking and cessation; a studies page designed to destroy what they call the “great Public Health fallacy”, a page about the right of people not to be told they can’t smoke and links to sites by likeminded groups.
Visitors are urged not to donate to the American Cancer Society, American Lung Association or “any other organisation with ties to the smoking cessation movement.” They are, according to the website’s authors, just “big money organisations” and not dedicated enough, to curing cancer.
You can also contact Banthebanwisconsin, although no phone number is given “due to the combative and abuse (sic) nature of many of the anti-smoking proponents.”
Good ventilation can solve smoking controversy
Dear Editor: There has never been a single study showing that exposure to the low levels of smoke found in bars and restaurants with decent modern ventilation and filtration systems kills or harms anyone.
As to the annoyance of smoking, a compromise between smokers and non-smokers can be reached through setting a quality standard and the use of modern ventilation technology. Air ventilation can easily create a comfortable environment that removes not just passive smoke, but also and especially the potentially serious contaminants that are independent from smoking.
Thunder Bay, Ontario
Second-hand smoke impact proof lacking
Marshall P. Keith, Crandon, Wis.,
Published Friday, June 06, 2008
To the Editor:?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????
Governor Jim Doyle’s promotion of Senator Breske is an insult to the people of Wisconsin. It is a veiled attempt of “If you can’t beat them promote them.”
Of course I am referring to the smoking ban. As everyone knows Senator Breske and the Tavern League have been major obstacles in getting the ban passed.
The Tobacco Control groups have been using fear and out and out lies to push their agenda through. They claim that repeating the studies verifies that the low statistical risk is conclusive proof yet they cannot show any other causes of diseases with equally low risk ratios that have been proven conclusively.
An award-winning article in Science Epidemiology faces its limits bares this out there is no consensus on any low risk ratio study as being fact. They believe that a lie repeated often enough becomes fact.
OSHA looked at all of the studies and found that the levels in ETS would not exceed Permissible Exposure Levels. If the evidence is so overwhelming how come they haven’t successfully sued the tobacco companies for ETS (Environmental Tobacco Smoke) exposure?
To answer this you have to go back to 1992 when the EPA first came out with their infamous report declaring ETS a carcinogen. The problem is that they faked the study. The study was thrown out in court by Judge Osteen, it was also examined by the Congressional Research Service and found inconclusive.
Now let’s jump ahead to the 2006 Surgeon Generals report. Not only does it contain mostly the same studies as the faked EPA report but the same activist players.
The Senior Scientific Editor Jonathan M. Samet played a major role in the epidemiologic analysis of the faked EPA report. Stanton Glantz one of the Surgeon General Report’s authors also worked on the faked report. He not only worked on it he leaked to the press long before the study was done what the results were going to be.
Here’s his policy statement on how he approaches research:
“…that’s the question that I have applied to my research relating to tobacco: If this comes out the way I think, will it make a difference [toward achieving the goal]. And if the answer is yes, then we do it, and if the answer is I don’t know, then we don’t bother. Okay? And that’s the criteria.”
— Written transcript Of three-day conference called “Revolt Against Tobacco,” L.A., 1992.
It’s the criteria for advocacy, all right. Just not for objective science. Should activist pretending to be scientist be writing reports that affect public policy?
So again I ask should we be passing laws on wishcraft science that couldn’t hold up in a court of law? Why haven’t these activists successfully sued the tobacco companies? Could it be the proof just isn’t there?
Marshall P. Keith
In honor of the city of Monona, Wisconsin falling…
If anybody knows somebody in or around Monona, please have some of these printed and hung up around town.
Ban the Ban Wisconsin launches Operation Mollycoddle
Ban the Ban Wisconsin has officially launched a new campaign aimed to counter the surging efforts being put forth by anti-smoking organizations. Keeping with stated policy, the campaign is not aimed at encouraging smoking; rather the purpose of Operation Mollycoddle is to encourage choice.
Polk County, WI (PRWEB) May 16, 2008 — Ban the Ban Wisconsin, a nonprofit organization opposing smoking bans, has officially launched their Operation Mollycoddle campaign as of this week. While still keeping with their stated policy of not encourage smoking, the campaign is taking a new direction from previous efforts by specifically targeting the general public instead of the anti-smoking organizations.
Operation Mollycoddle was designed for the explicit purpose of encouraging the general public to reclaim themselves as responsible adult citizens who are capable of making their own decisions and counter the overwhelming attitude that people need to be forcibly protected from themselves. While a large portion of the campaign is based in humor, the underlying message is one that should grab people’s attention and force them to ask the question “why?”
While Ban the Ban’s previous efforts have been based on questioning the science, this new direction instead questions the rationale and asks the question as to why people are conceding to being treated like children. While science is still a major factor, it will not carry a visible presence in this campaign.
“The question that began to plague us was why it is that more people aren’t outraged by this. Is it apathy, or are they simply not seeing the bigger picture? As responsible adults, we are personally offended that our ability to make decisions and live with the consequences of those decisions is being called into question. We are not children who need to have our hands held.”
For immediate release: April 8, 2008
Response to the March 2008 Mellman Survey
Polk County – Ban the Ban Wisconsin would urge Wisconsin citizens and legislators to approach the results of the March 12 thru 16 Mellman Group/POS telephone survey regarding support for a state-wide smoking ban with caution.
Without being able to study the full results of the survey, it is difficult to say what sort of geographic spread that the survey covered; however the simple breakdown presented by the news media covered the Madison area, Milwaukee area and Green Bay area. Ban opponents would like to know what percentage of survey respondents were from outstate Wisconsin communities as those areas stand to suffer the most harm if a ban were implemented.
Other factors that raise skepticism regarding the survey are as follows:
•?The survey was not a true random sampling of Wisconsin residents (something impossible to do with phone surveys utilizing registration-based sampling) nor did it address non-response bias. As one polling information website stated regarding non-response, “it is nearly impossible to know how respondents to your survey differ from non-respondents.”
•?Regarding sample size, the survey results were based on 500 respondents. It would be irresponsible for anybody to believe that this is a solid representative sampling of Wisconsin residents. For Wisconsin’s population, a minimum of 600 people would have to be surveyed to reach a 95% confidence level and 1037 would have to be surveyed to reach 99% confidence.
•?Regarding the telephone survey method, the Oxford Journal’s Public Opinion Quarterly specifically addresses the fact that “[e]ven after statistical adjustments that account for demographic differences between adults living in households with and without landlines, telephone surveys of landlines will underestimate the prevalence of health behaviors, such as binge drinking, smoking, and HIV testing.”
•?The survey predominantly measures the public’s perception on a subject that they are largely uninformed about. With 57% of respondents claiming that they believe that secondhand smoke is a “serious health hazard” it is clear that people are making subjective judgments based on their own personal feelings and not the facts. If a respondent isn’t familiar with all sides of an issue, their response to a survey question will be skewed to their opinion which is a poor method of judging the public’s support for invasive legislative policy.
•?Regarding the Mellman Group, their objectivity on the issue should be questioned as the head of their Madison office is known for his anti-tobacco work and is considered an “expert” on tobacco-control issues. For a survey regarding tobacco legislation to be considered legitimate, we would like to see a truly neutral and unaffiliated polling and research organization perform a state-wide study. Furthermore, the Mellman Group has a questionable history of dealing with tobacco issues, as exemplified in this excerpt from “Tobacco Supporters Admit: Anti-Smoking Bill Will Pass” from the May 19, 1998 St. Petersburg Times:
“The Mellman group has been a polling lobby for the American Cancer Society since at least 1998, when Mark Mellman claimed that including the phrases ‘raising taxes’ and ‘creating new bureaucracies’ in the tobacco industry’s poll on the McCain bill to raise the federal cigarette tax by $1.10 and impose FDA regulation supposedly ‘clearly biases the question’ [while leaving them out supposedly would not], and sneered that the tobacco companies ‘have a pretty good history of buying the results they want, whether it’s in politics or cancer research’ – notwithstanding that the tobacco industry has never questioned the anti-smokers’ lies and fraud, so the only purpose that their polls could serve is merely to measure how well the unopposed hate propaganda campaign is brainwashing the public.”
“With these points in mind, it is difficult to acknowledge the survey results as anything more than just an interesting talking point and maybe a starting point for further research.
It is our hope that this issue can be addressed in an objective manner and with as little external bias as possible. As such, we can’t help to call into question a poll that was commissioned by the American Cancer Society, American Heart Association, American Lung Association, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, and Smoke-Free Wisconsin and by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation when these same groups would immediately discredit any similar such survey that was funded by “big tobacco” or any anti-smoking ban organizations.”
About Ban the Ban Wisconsin:
Ban the Ban Wisconsin is a nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting the basic rights of Wisconsin residents and business owners and preserving the economic viability of rural and out-state communities by opposing restrictive smoking bans. More about BtBWI at http://www.banthebanwisconsin.com/aboutus.aspx
Smoking ban takes away our freedom of choice
January 21, 2008
I’m a former smoker who made a conscious decision to quit smoking a long time ago. I knew the health risks when I started, but finally made a choice to quit because of those health risks. Notice the two key phrases there: conscious decision, and choice.
While I don’t condone smoking, I certainly don’t condone the fact that our governor and other legislators have imposed higher taxes on tobacco products, nor do I condone that they are pushing for bans on smoking in businesses such as restaurants and bars. If any of these places chooses to go smoke free, it should be at the discretion of the business owner, not government.
What is going to be next? Smoking bans in your car or home? How much more do “we the people” want to have people like Jim Doyle telling us we have no more personal choice whether or not it isn’t the healthiest one?
This isn’t simply about health risks any more; it’s about freedom of choice. And if we continue on this path, it will be a matter of time before more of our freedoms will be no longer.
I for one don’t want that for our country, and if you love freedom, especially freedom of free choice, you need to contact your legislators and tell them enough is enough.
So here it starts. Yesterday the Wisconsin Senate chose to resurrect the State smoking ban (SB 150
) and passed it through their committee which allows it to go to the floor now.
This is not acceptable.
I started phase one by sending out email letters
, and since that didn’t gain me much I am now sending out hard copies of my letter along with packets of information regarding smoking ban damage and the lack of hard evidence regarding second-hand smoke.
Phase two starts now. I have put together an informal petition
that I hope to get circulating around Wisconsin to help guage response as well as gather data.
This is where I need help. Anybody in Wisconsin who reads this, please sign the petition here
and forward it on to everybody you can. We need the power of the people more than ever now, as the Governor Doyle and the Wisconsin legislature has proven to us time and again that they don’t care about anybody unless they make a ruckus. So you know what? It’s time to make a ruckus. It’s time to be as annoying and in-your-face as the anti-smoking crowd.
Remember, this isn’t about smoking. This is about freedom and rights. This is about the right of a person to choose their own path. It’s about the right of a business owner to run their business as they want.
Remember, the more we allow them to take away, the more we lose in the long run. Is this the future that we really want?
Below is my commentary on SmokeFree Wisconsin’s asinine press release on the Senate move:
SmokeFree Wisconsin: Statement on the committee vote on smoke free legislation
For further information:
MADISON—The Wisconsin State Senate Public Health Committee took an important step today in advancing Senate Bill 150, legislation that would make all public places and workplaces in the state smoke-free. Unfortunately, amendments were added to the bill by the committee that create loopholes for Big Tobacco and delay health protection for restaurant and bar workers for two years. A coalition of public health and business groups urge a vote on the Senate floor as soon as possible to correct and pass SB150.
[See, here’s the problem with the anti-smoking crowd. They want all or nothing. There is no such thing as a compromise with them. They want it their way or no way… And of course, no way is not an option. They also want things to move along as quickly as possible, which I think is a ploy to make sure laws are in place before anybody has a chance to argue another side of the equation.]
“This legislation is long overdue; it is time for everyone who lives and works in Wisconsin to have basic health protection from secondhand smoke,” said Maureen Busalacchi, Executive Director of SmokeFree Wisconsin. “The bill needs to be corrected through amendments but we are looking forward to finally having action on the Senate floor.”
[She sounds like she is taking this personally. Shouldn’t the passage of restrictive legislation be based on objective reasoning over personal feelings? I mean, we’re talking about stripping away the basic rights and freedoms of Wisconsin residents and business owners in the name of public health – something that they cannot definitively prove anyway.]
A last-minute amendment was passed that exempts “a place of employment operated by a manufacturer, importer, wholesaler, or distributor of tobacco products” as well as “a tobacco storage facility” from the law (quoted from amendment LRBa0722/1). These broad and undefined exemptions would exempt tobacco company-owned businesses and possibly open up broader loopholes. For example, Reynolds American recently entered the bar and restaurant business by opening an establishment in Chicago. Such an establishment would be clearly exempted under this amendment.
[Here we go with the lack of compromise or exemption. What is the deal? Why such an all-or-nothing stance?]
“It is outrageous that tobacco companies still have a say when we write laws to protect health,” said Busalacchi.
[Here we go… The big, bad, evil tobacco companies are running the government. Yeah, right. This is a personal issue to people like Ms. Busalacchi. She’s on a personal mission here. She hates tobacco. She hates smoke. She hates smokers. She would rather see a blatant violation of freedom than allow big, bad tobacco to get one over on her.]
“The delay in implementation of the law is also a problem,” said Alison Prange, Wisconsin Government Relations Director of the American Cancer Society. “Why should people have to wait two full years to breathe free inside a restaurant or bar?”
[As always, I can’t help but to ask why it is that people supposedly have no choice? If people do not want to be exposed to ETS, they have the choice not to patronize establishments that allow smoking. Is it that hard to figure out? And stop throwing around this “breathe free” thing. Breathing free is having the right to breathe whatever we choose, not being told what to breathe. Give me a break!]
The measure is now available to be scheduled on the Senate floor where advocates believe a majority of Senators, including members from both parties, will pass the bill. If the bill becomes law, Wisconsin would become the 23rd state to require all restaurants and bars to be smoke-free.
[That’s because these people are placing the importance of pandering to special interests over freedom which is wholly unacceptable.]
Secondhand smoke contains more than 4,000 chemicals, including 69 carcinogens. An impressive coalition of health and business advocates have joined together to support SB150, including the American Cancer Society, American Heart Association, American Lung Association, SmokeFree Wisconsin, Wisconsin Medical Society, Wisconsin Restaurant Association, Wisconsin Innkeepers Association, and others.
[Ah yes, the evils of ETS. It’ll kill you faster than Plutonium according to the surgeon general. Yet… OSHA has not put any limits on exposure. So if I worked somewhere where I was exposed to the same array of chemicals in a non-ETS related capacity, I wouldn’t have to take precautions, yet when it’s ETS you have to ban it to protect everybody. I don’t want to hear about biased coalitions who want to see the abolition (or at least the complete cessation) of smoking. There’s no objectivity to these people. If they are going to slap us with nanny-state laws and infringe this severely on our rights and freedoms, I want objective data. No opinions. No personal vendettas against smoke. No personal hatred of big tobacco.]