“The results suggest that the public consensus about the negative effects of passive smoke is so strong that it has become part of a regime of truth that cannot be intelligibly questioned.”

So said Sheldon Ungar of the Department of Social Science, 1265 Military Trail, Scarborough, Ontario, Canada M1C and Dennis Bray of the Institute for Coastal Research, GKSS Geesthact, Germany.

The background to this paper was the publication in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) of Dr. James Enstrom and Dr. Geoffrey Kabat’s “Environmental tobacco smoke and tobacco related mortality in a prospective study of Californians, 1960-98.” It concluded on the effects of second hand smoke that, “The results do not support a causal relation between environmental tobacco smoke and tobacco related mortality, although they do not rule out a small effect. The association between exposure to environmental tobacco smoke and coronary heart disease and lung cancer may be considerably weaker than generally believed.”

The Rapid Responses saw the anti smokers whip themselves up into a frenzy of denial, ad hominems and smears. The two authors above also commented too and in response produced a paper published in 2005 called “Silencing science: partisanship and the career of a publication disputing the dangers of secondhand smoke.” This is the abstract:

“Abstract

This paper examines the silencing of science, that is, efforts to prevent the making of specific scientific claims in any or all of the arenas in which these claims are typically reported or circulated. Those trying to mute the reporting or circulation of scientific claims are termed “partisans.” The paper examines silencing through a systematic examination of the “rapid responses” to a smoking study published in the British Medical Journal claiming that secondhand smoke is not as dangerous as conventionally believed. Media coverage of the smoking study is also examined, as is the question of whether there is self-silencing by the media regarding doubts about the negative effects of passive smoke. The results suggest that the public consensus about the negative effects of passive smoke is so strong that it has become part of a regime of truth that cannot be intelligibly questioned.”

Ungar and Bray then quote from some national newspapers.

“According to the National Post (Toronto, Canada) of 20 May: “To believe that second-hand smoke may not be very harmful has become a thoughtcrime almost akin to Holocaust denial. Those who dare express doubts must expect hysterical abuse from every point of the PC compass. ” And the British Telegraph of 19 May asserted:
“Researchers who dissent from the party line face character  assassination and the termination of grants. Those who report their findings are vilified as lackeys of the tobacco industry, and accused of professional misconduct (in 1998, campaigners tried to have this newspaper censured by the Press Relations Commission for our reports on passive smoking. They failed).”

Professor Carl Phillips the former Professor of Public Health at the University of Alberta was hounded out of his post for trying to be honest, also has written a paper on the same lines, he consludes: “It is an attempt to promote the kind of self-censorship of thought examined by Orwell and mastered by Stalin.”

Nobel Prize winner Friedrich Von Hayek in his 1944 publication “The Road to Serfdom” cited that in totalitarian regimes science is perverted for political ends, we can only conclude that when it comes to epidemiology and the science of second hand smoke we live in a post democratic age.

http://www.bmj.com/content/326/7398/1057.full

http://pus.sagepub.com/content/14/1/5.abstract

http://www.scientificintegrityinstitute.org/publications.html (4B)

https://daveatherton.wordpress.com/2011/04/22/professor-carl-v-phillips-and-honest-science/

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10 Responses to “The results suggest that the public consensus about the negative effects of passive smoke is so strong that it has become part of a regime of truth that cannot be intelligibly questioned.”

  1. Neil A. Brown says:

    Unfortunately, it comes as no surprise to learn that scientific evidence has been cherry picked to back the government line. Vilification, ridicule and demonisation of those who disagree is a well honed tool of control. Several thousand years of civilisation means that the manipulation of public opinion is an ancient and essential dark art for those who are in power and wish to remain so.

  2. Anthony Williams says:

    It is with regret that the dishonesty of the pseudo scientists, has denigrated real science, the only way back is for their to be an unbiased study done by real scientists to either prove or disprove the theory. Then and only then will the honest truth emerge.

  3. I have given up! It is illogical that second-hand smoke can cause that much damage, according to the simple science of common sense. Smoke coiling, say, from the burning end of a cigarette is dispersed in a liberal quantity of air, even in a stuffy room. However, it smells. What if it didn’t? Likewise, smoke sucked into the smoker’s mouth is inhaled ‘en bloc’ into the lungs, where the lungs themselves extract most of the toxins (if they didn’t, we wouldn’t smoke!!). Then, again, it is exhaled into a liberal amount of air, and is dispersed, if not – to reiterate – its smell (we all know from schooldays how just a couple of puffs on a fag in a room might be detected at the far end of the corridor). Also, smokers themselves stink of their fags; and ashtrays, when in use, are an ugly sight. So, the demonisation of second-hand smoke is easy, using superficial nasal and visual ‘data’, on their own, and then combined with such horrors as the smoker’s cough and the detrimental effect of the habit, to the physical health of many smokers, over time – the argument against second-hand smoke conflated, in these latter instances, with that against smoking, despite the two things being different. Concerning Enstrom and Kabat, the lion’s share of their work was funded by a cancer research body. Only when that funding ceased, towards the end, did a front organisation for the tobacco industry pay. Does anyone know why the original sponsors pulled out? One can jump to conclusions (eg, the results ran contrary to expectations); but any exact detail would be useful.

  4. Thanks for the links. I am nearly sure I have already read them, but will check again, when time permits. Bookmarked!

  5. bwanamakubwa says:

    Ever since Man (the species) learned to utilise fire in order to cook his food and thus render it more palatable and more easily digestible we, as a species, have been exposed to the supposed deleterious effects of this ethereal substance. Our fires have always been composed of whatever was most easily available, twigs, leaves and branches.
    The vast majority of the homo sapiens species still prepares their food over open fires. We have not died out. We have been breathing in smoke for many a millennium and we are still here. How have we managed to escape the supposed evil of the combustion of one branch of the Solanaceae family of plants for so long?

    • We’ve been told for years secondhand smoke is deadly dangerous but we are here alive and there are no deaths from it, not even close.

      It’s an exaggerated, created science all its own. It’s propaganda – fallacies created to have justifications for a new round of tobacco prohibition. I am for freedom, freedom for all people to have their own place in this world, including the smokers!

      Tobacco smoke maybe an irritant to some, but that’s about it. Its chemical makeup has been so exaggerated by tobacco control pundits, it’s insanity. Only 6 percent of tobacco smoke constitutes those 7,000 theorized and identified components of the smoke. Theorized is the word, since the claimed chemicals are themselves so small they can barely be detected. Nanograms, femtograms are the sizes of what can be detected so they theorize the rest. Four percent is carbon monoxide, while nearly 90 percent constitutes ordinary atmospheric air! These figures come from the surgeon general’s report in 1989.

      Oh the pundits may bring up benzene in tobacco smoke. The average cigarette produces roughly 300 micrograms of benzene (1986 report of the surgeon general. p.130) 0.3 micrograms – 300 nanograms.

      Benzene is normally found in fruits, fish, vegetables, nuts, dairy products, beverages and eggs. The National Cancer Institute estimates that an individual may safely ingest up to 250 micrograms in their food per day, every single day of the year.

      Thus, the “safe” exposure to benzene from one day of a normal diet is roughly equal to the exposure experienced by a nonsmoker sharing an airspace with smokers for over 750 hours.

      It’s a political movement and it was never about health.

  6. daveatherton says:

    My over zealous spam filter blocked this comment from the delightful Rose.

    “30th January 1999

    WHO LAUNCHES PARTNERSHIP WITH THE PHARMACEUTICAL INDUSTRY TO HELP SMOKERS QUIT
    http://www.who.int/inf-pr-1999/en/pr99-04.html

    7th March 2001

    “Every time a smoker switches to ‘lights’ as an alternative to quitting the market for smoking cessation is diminished.

    Most of the measures that drive people to want to quit smoking and use GSK products are exactly those that are opposed by tobacco companies. Such measures include:

    Restrictions on smoking in public places and workplaces”
    http://www.ash.org.uk/files/documents/ASH_635.pdf

    March 2002

    WHO Europe evidence based recommendations on the treatment of tobacco dependence

    “This was a three year project, funded largely by three pharmaceutical companies that manufacture treatment products for tobacco dependence, but managed by WHO Europe and a steering group which included government representatives and many public sector organisations.
    http://tobaccocontrol.bmj.com/content/11/1/44.full

    15 May 2003

    “Environmental tobacco smoke and tobacco related mortality in a prospective study of Californians, 1960-98.”
    James E Enstrom Geoffrey C Kabat
    http://www.bmj.com/content/326/7398/1057.full

    May/June 2003

    “192 member states of the WHO took part in negotiations, producing a draft text, adopted by the World Health Assembly in May 2003.

    28 countries, including the UK, signed the treaty in June 2003.”
    http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/+/www.dh.gov.uk/en/Healthcare/International/EuropeanUnion/DH_4117936

    They signed to say that they -

    “Recognize that scientific evidence has unequivocally established that exposure to tobacco smoke causes death, disease and disability, and that there is a time lag between exposure to smoking and the other uses of tobacco products and the onset of tobacco-related diseases.”
    http://whqlibdoc.who.int/publications/2003/9241591013.pdf

    The study was published too late to be anything more than an embarrassment to the 192 WHO member states who had just drafted the treaty.

    You can’t reasonably enforce smoking bans on privately owned places if it’s proved that there is no danger and the WHO/drug company juggernaut was already rolling.

    18 May 2003
    “The demise of a supposed major risk to public health might be expected to prompt celebration among medical experts and campaigners. Instead, they scrambled to condemn the study, its authors, its conclusions, and the journal that published them.”
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/science-news/4769409/Warning-the-health-police-can-seriously-addle-your-brain.html

    No wonder they reacted like that,I should have thought there would have been egg on some very important faces if they hadn’t torn it apart very quickly.

    And the perpetrators will be very unlikely ever to explain.

  7. Rose says:

    “Those who report their findings are vilified as lackeys of the tobacco industry, and accused of professional misconduct (in 1998, campaigners tried to have this newspaper censured by the Press Relations Commission for our reports on passive smoking. They failed).”

    ASH tells you how.

    Challenging the Telegraphs reporting

    “On March 8th 1998 the Sunday Telegraph published a front-page headline report accusing the World Health Organization of suppressing a study that the newspaper claimed showed there was no link between passive smoking and lung cancer. The Sunday Telegraph headline was: “Passive smoking doesn’t cause cancer – official”.

    ASH immediately contacted the Sunday Telegraph requesting a withdrawal and correction. When it refused, ASH concluded there was no alternative but to make a complaint to the Press Complaints Commission (PCC).

    This page brings together the various pieces in the story (pdf files).
    http://www.ash.org.uk/information/secondhand-smoke/challenging-the-telegraphs-reporting

  8. Rose says:

    “This paper examines the silencing of science, that is, efforts to prevent the making of specific scientific claims in any or all of the arenas in which these claims are typically reported or circulated.”

    Having read “Challenging the Telegraph” I immediately recognised “Climate of Fear” from James Delingpole when I read it in 2009

    “Ward works for the Grantham Institute for Climate Change, one of the main drivers of the global AGW agenda. Its (enormously well-paid) chairman is the ineffably dismal, droney-voiced, economist-turned-climate-fear-promoter Lord Stern. It has been lavishly funded by Jeremy Grantham, a US hedge fund manager who made a fortune correctly calling the global economic collapse and has now turned his attentions to AGW.

    As the Institute’s press spokesman, Ward does a fantastic job for his masters by terrifying the living daylights out of people in the media (see Fraser, above) who are even remotely sceptical about AGW. A favoured tactic is to report them to the Press Complaints Commission for the slightest perceived factual error, presumably because he knows that the supine PCC will almost always cave in to bullying rather than stand up to what often turns out to be the most trivial and vexatious nitpicking.”

    “The first time Ward tried this tactic was in 2007 when, as former head of media for the Royal Society, he decided to take responsibility for shooting down Martin Durkin’s notorious Channel 4 documentary The Great Global Warming Swindle. This was the first programme on British television seriously to challenge Al Gore’s ‘consensus’ on global warming.

    The reason I call it notorious is not because it was factually untrue, but because Ward very successfully orchestrated a campaign against it of such shrillness that the programme is now generally remembered as a piece of denialist propaganda.”
    http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/jamesdelingpole/100019179/climategate-climate-of-fear/

  9. junican says:

    Political Correctness:

    The public acceptance by a person of the truth of a sociological idea concerning the truth of which he has grave doubts.

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