Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Flacking for death and destruction ....

One of the accidental themes of Rabett Run has been the smokescreen that a few scientists have put up to limit regulation of tobacco. Anyone paying attention knows that a rather small number of well paid scientists coordinated a campaign to provide cover for Big Tobacco. Strangely in large part they were the same people who now are out front on climate change denial.

The last refuge of the tobacco scoundrels was slipstream, or passive smoke. they spent considerable time denying that passive smoke was a problem, indeed, the the misleading sign up list strategy originatedwith the Heidelberg Appeal, which was designed as a three-fer to oppose regulation of tobacco smoking and disease causing substances legislation and acknowlegement that people were changing the Earth's climate. The Alexis de Tocqueville Institution took $20,000 for Fred Singer to produce a screed against passive smoke regulation

Today, the US surgeon general issued a report conclusively stating that passive smoking is extremely dangerous. The report, The Health Consequences of Involuntary Exposure to Tobacco Smoke: A Report of the Surgeon General can be read on line, along with the press release, remarks by the SG and the executive summary. The six major conclusions of the report are:

  • Many millions of Americans, both children and adults, are still exposed to secondhand smoke in their homes and workplaces despite substantial progress in tobacco control.
  • Secondhand smoke exposure causes disease and premature death in children and adults who do not smoke.
  • Children exposed to secondhand smoke are at an increased risk for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), acute respiratory infections, ear problems, and more severe asthma. Smoking by parents causes respiratory symptoms and slows lung growth in their children.
  • Exposure of adults to secondhand smoke has immediate adverse effects on the cardiovascular system and causes coronary heart disease and lung cancer.
  • The scientific evidence indicates that there is no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke.
  • Eliminating smoking in indoor spaces fully protects nonsmokers from exposure to secondhand smoke. Separating smokers from nonsmokers, cleaning the air, and ventilating buildings cannot eliminate exposures of nonsmokers to secondhand smoke.
In the news conference held to announce the report, the Surgeon General, Richard Carmona, stated that :
"Smoking by parents causes respiratory symptoms and slows lung growth in their children," the report added. "The scientific evidence indicates that there is no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke."
"Nonsmokers need protection through the restriction of smoking in public places and workplaces and by a voluntary adherence to policies at home, particularly to eliminate exposures of children,"
Of course, the tobacco companies provided their usual denials
Altria Group Inc.'s Philip Morris USA unit said people could choose whether to be around smokers.
Phil might consider the babies whose moms and dads smoke.

Eli would like to ask Seitz and Singer and their fellow travelers on a very well paid road what they intend to do to make up for the harm they have caused? Those who have contributed to the smog machine have to ask themselves the same thing. On the other hand, it would really do the heart good to see them chased down by a mob of tort seeking lawyers. Were the world just, Singer, Seitz and Co. would spend the rest of their days in jail. Eli would settle for watching them spend the rest of their days in court.


QUASAR9 said...

"Eli would settle for watching them spend the rest of their days in court."

You are not a lawyer are you?
I'm just trying to weigh the argument.
(i) War is good for some businesses, like the arms industry, and the generals who get medals. Is that sufficient justification for war?
(ii) Tobacco industry is a profitable business, is that sufficient justification to promote smoking? instead of promoting quitting.
(iii) The Oil industry is a profitable business, is that sufficient justification not to encourage or promote alternatives
(iv) The fat industry is a profitable industry is that sufficient justification to promote liposuction.
(v) Plastic surgery is a profitable industry is that sufficient justification to encourage people to go under the knife.

The paradox is people are still falling over themselves to hand over the cash at the petrol pump. For some the only refuge or pleasure in life is tobacco, it is not a choice from among several choices, they can't afford much else.

Liposuction & plastic surgery is something that appeals to the vane, those who can pay, leaving those who cannot wishing they could afford it. If onlt they knew what you really get for your money.

And war, well a general cannot get any stars if there is no action, the arms industry gets no government contracts if you are already overstocked with missiles. Oh I know lets dump it all on Iraq.

Yes, someone actually claimed they dumped more on Iraq in 3 days than on Europe during the whole of WWII. Now I don't know if that was a 99.97% accurate claim or just a boast. But it does show the mentallity of the US Administration.

There is no difference in thinkinf between the US Senate & Rome 2000 years ago. Rome thought it would rule for ever and a day. Granted there are no Gauls, no Bretons, bo Vandals, no Attila the hun are gonna come and threaten Washington. But ultimately decadence brought Rome down, not any military enemy or 'ghost'. Quixotic windmills is what the US Administration is fighting against.

Even Aunt Sally's if you like, bad guys you build up to knock down. It works for them, they get richer everyday. That is 'reality' -

Anonymous said...

The second link relating to the Heidelberg Appeal gets the history wrong. It claims that the Heidelberg Appeal was a response to the UCS's "World Scientists Warning to Humanity". It's the other way around - the Appeal came first, in April 1992, and the "Warning" came out in November.

There is actually a substantial overlap between the signers of the two petitions - IIRC more than half of the Nobel Laureates who signed the "Appeal" also signed the "Warning". The "Appeal" is very vague - it warns against regulations based upon "false or irrelevant data" but doesn't specify what these might be. My presumption is that many of the signers of the Appear were thinking of such things as Greenpeace's quixotic attempt to ban all industrial uses of chlorine.

EliRabett said...

More on this later, but Michael Salomon and S. Fred Singer were closely associated way back. Salomon has served on the SEPP board http://www.sepp.org/boarddir.html and Singer was on the original International Center for Scientific Ecology Board (in 1993 at least) .

This was a year earlier than Singer started writing his report denying harm from environmental tobacco smoke http://tinyurl.com/rjgos but it was the same time that Salomon took part in the SEPP conference on Science and the Environment http://tinyurl.com/ewmpc where all the theme I mentioned came together. See also http://www.sepp.org/conferences/sippp.html.

IMHO a lot of folk who signed the Heidelberg appeal thought they were aiming at the barn but hit the cow.

EliRabett said...

Oh yes, Philip Morris was involved with Salomon very early on also http://tinyurl.com/leray