"Beware of the half truth. You may have gotten hold of the wrong half."

The Numbers


Smoking Bans
And Businesses

Odds and Ends


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 they're presenting.

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 it.

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 Agendas

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 rabid.

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 or decisions
• 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.


© 2000 - 2012 Dave Hitt

Permission is granted to use this information, in whole or in part, however you like.
Attribution and Links are appreciated but not required.

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