Everyone has an agenda. You must know the agenda of the person conducting a study and the organization
that financed it to assess the value of the information
Most people instinctively distrust anything from the tobacco industry.
This makes sense, considering that Big Tobacco not only has an agenda
of protecting themselves and promoting its product, but also a long
history of presenting misleading information and outright lies. But
these same people are often quite willing to blindly accept any numbers
presented by government agencies or charity organizations, shrugging
off their built in agendas or even denying that they exist.
Most government agencies have a published agenda, a purpose that is
stated up front. But they also have another agenda - the desire to increase
their funding and their influence. More influence brings in more money,
more money brings in a bigger staff, nicer offices, and the ability
to pass more rules and regulations, which increases their influence
and justifies more funding, and on and on until a huge bureaucracy is
created, then expanded. (Have you ever seen any government agency release
a report that would reduce an agency's size or power?)
The goal of increasing funding and power has led many government agencies
to commit fraud on levels that would land the officers of private companies
in jail, or at least in the unemployment office. We provide a concrete
example of that on this site.
Charities also have agendas beyond their stated causes. They need
to bring in increasing contributions to prosper, and are in direct
competition with every other charity trying to do the same thing.
Fear brings in the bucks better than anything else. The odds of a
woman getting breast cancer in any given year is greater than one
in a thousand, but you'll never hear that from a charity cartel, because
it would generate yawns. Instead they announce that breast cancer will
strike one out of every nine women, which generates massive contributions.
Never mind that the number is based on a study of elderly women, and
is completely inaccurate when applied to the general population -
the important thing is to raise awareness and, of course, money. Facts
aren't nearly as important, especially inconvenient facts.
Sometimes it takes a bit of digging to discover agendas. For instance,
I once had a long, detailed e-mail conversation with a medical student
about a study of the effects of SHS on children. He sent me a copy of
the entire study, which I proceeded to pick apart without too much trouble.
It was a meta study, and deeply flawed, but I didn't pay much attention
to either the doctor who conducted it or the organization that financed
I visited the web site of the financing organization, the Robert Wood
Johnson foundation, and saw that they have an anti-tobacco agenda, but
they weren't very specific about it and it didn't appear to be too extreme.
But a few days later, while researching a related subject I learned
that they had donated ten million dollars to eighteen states to lobby
for higher tobacco taxes in 1995, the year before the study was published.
I then discovered they've spent over 100 million dollars on anti-tobacco
programs and studies. The source of their funds is five billion (yes
billion) dollars worth of Johnson and Johnson stock. Every time someone
buys one of J&Js patches, inhalers, nicotine gum, etc., it literally
puts money in their pocket. Suddenly, their position of as the sole
financier of the report took on a much greater significance. A bit more
digging revealed that Dr. DiFranza, the author of the report, had been
an anti-smoking activist for at least six years before he wrote this
study. He advocates taking custody away from smoking parents. Is it
likely that a report created by a crusading anti-smoking activist and
funded by an ardent anti-smoking organization might be just a little
bit predisposed to finding that SHS was a horrible, deadly, evil thing?
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As you will learn on this site, second hand smoke is not a health issue.
It never has been. The real agenda is to force smokers to quit by making
it impossible for them to smoke anywhere. Read any article on smoking
bans and they'll usually admit that somewhere toward the end. They'll
say they're trying to "encourage" smokers to quit, but in
reality they are trying to force them to by making it illegal for them
to smoke anywhere.
Consider this quote by one of the leaders of the anti-smoker movement:
"The next two obvious steps, already in progress, are restricting
smoking on beaches, parks, lines, doorways...and then restricting
it in homes, particularly where there are sensitive children."
- John Banzhaf, CBS Good Morning, April 22, 2001
Nannies take agenda hunting of their opponents to the extreme while
completely ignoring the agendas of their supporters. ASH, Banzhaf's
group, is one of the nastiest and most hateful anti-smoker groups out
there. He advises his supporters to avoid arguing science and instead
resort to personal attacks against those who dare to question their
dogma, concentrating on their connections to supposedly untrustworthy
organizations. No line is too tenuous when looking to discredit the
opposition. An author who gets paid for an article in a magazine that
takes tobacco ads is tainted. Anyone writing for a group that once took
a contribution from a company that produces, among other things, tobacco,
is an evil dupe of the tobacco industry and nothing they say can ever
be believed. ASH conveniently ignores their own advice; considering
their history of outright lies and falsifying of data. Nothing they
say has any credibility.
A presenter's agenda doesn't necessarily mean the study is is worthless.
(If that were the case, all studies would be worthless.) It simply
means their bias should be considered when examining their presentation
of the facts. Articles from Reason magazine, for instance, come with
the built in bias that individuals should be free, and government should
be as limited as possible. Americans for Non-smokers Rights will never
publish information that contradicts their agenda. ASH seems to be devoted
to harassing smokers for sport. They have refused to correct known
errors on their site, and intentionally misrepresented the people involved in studies.
My bias and agendas should be obvious, but for the record let me state
them up front.
I think adults should be able to make their own decisions, including
decisions to do things that are risky or even downright stupid. They
should also be allowed to choose pleasure over longevity without interference.
I believe smoking, especially cigarettes, is risky behavior, although
the risks have been wildly overstated. I believe there is no evidence
of SHS harming bystanders, and created this site to back up that belief
with cold, hard facts.
It seems obvious to me that business owners should be allowed to make
their own decisions about how to run their businesses with a minimum
of government interference. This includes allowing behavior that others
may not approve or may find offensive. On the issue of smoking, the
maximum legal interference allowed should be a requirement that business
post their policy clearly at their entrance, allowing all of their potential
customers decide if they want to patronize them or not.
I've been fascinated with science since I was a little kid. A while
ago I spent a couple of years working at one of the world's largest
research and development centers. This gave me the opportunity to work
with many of the most talented scientists in the world, and it only
increased my respect for them and my fascination with science. My passion
for real science makes my attacks against against junk science rather
I find the continuing attacks on smokers and smoking a prefect microcosm
of just about everything wrong with the United States:
People unwilling to take responsibility for their own actions
Demands that stupidity be profitable
Insistence that life be risk free
People who willingly take a well known risk, then demand compensation
if they get hurt
The deep dishonesty of spewing junk science to support an agenda
The eagerness of the government and charity organizations
to create that junk science
The scientific illiteracy of the masses, which makes it easy
for them to accept junk science
The endless greed of the US government
The endless greed of many US citizens
The unfathomable greed of lawyers
The incessant yammering of the sanctimonious nannies, who insist
that they know what's best for everyone else
The worst of the bunch are the nannies. Their self-esteem depends on
looking down on others and meddling in their lives. In the past such
people resorted to racism and homophobia. Now that such attitudes are
socially unacceptable they have chosen smokers (among others) to hate.
I'll make no attempt to hide my contempt for them.
I believe that truth, like beauty, is subjective and greatly tainted
by personal viewpoints. When I tell you my wife is beautiful, that is
the truth. If you disagree that doesn't make you a liar. Therefore,
I don't claim that this site offers the truth, or The Truth. Instead,
it offers facts; solid, verifiable facts. If you find any factual errors
here please notify me immediately, and I'll correct them as soon as
possible. Once you know the facts you can figure out the truth (or The
Truth) for yourself.
I have smoked cigarettes off and on for most of my adult life. I'd
smoke a few years, quit for a few years, smoke for a few more, quit
for a few more, etc. I didn't keep returning to the habit because of
addiction, (all traces of physical need for nicotine are gone in a week
or less) but because I really, really enjoy smoking. These days I smoke
cigars and pipes. Neither are inhaled, so they're not as risky as cigarettes,
although, like every pleasure in life, they are not entirely risk free.
I despise the major cigarette companies and have never worked for them
in any manner. They have behaved irresponsibly for decades, first by
lying to the public, then, more importantly, by refusing to stand up
for their customers in the recent attacks against them. I encourage
cigarette smokers to show their displeasure by rolling their own or
buying generic brands from Indian Reservations. (This has the unfortunate
side effect of reducing the cost of smoking by as much as 80%, but most
smokers are willing to put up with that inconvenience.)
No tobacco money is involved, in any way, with the production
and maintenance of this site. It is funded solely by personal
funds. (Web sites are cheap.)
My agenda for creating this site is to help those who are fighting
off the continued attack on smokers. Anyone who finds this information
helpful is encouraged to use it. Although I retain the copyright to
everything here, you are free to use any and all text, charts, articles,
and information however you wish, as long as you don't modify it in
any way that would change the meaning. Crediting this site is appreciated,
but not required.