FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - April 3, 2006
Contact Audrey Silk, NYC C.L.A.S.H., (917) 888-9317
ANTI-SMOKE CRUSADERS CONDEMN MAJOR U.S. HEALTH ORGANIZATIONS. Campaign Seeks to Lower Scientific Standards by "Popular Demand."
Giving a new meaning to the term "popular science," crusaders Stanton Glantz, founder of Americans For Nonsmokers Rights, and his colleagues Andrew Hyland and K. Michael Cummings of the Roswell Park Institute's Department of Health Behavior in New York, are urging fellow crusaders to demand-- through the clamoring of a write-in campaign—that the top 6 American health organizations accept and promote "findings" which all of them have publicly refused to accept, and have dismissed as sub-standard.
The targeted organizations, accused of being far too fussy about their science and too inflexibly concerned about "scientific integrity" are the American Cancer Society, the National Cancer Institute, the US Department of Health and Human Services, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Komen Foundation, and the International Agency for Research on Cancer. The "findings" that the six organizations find lacking are the pronouncements of a handful of California scientists who concluded, on the basis of inconsistent studies, that secondhand smoke was a possible cause of breast cancer in premenopausal women. These findings were published by California's EPA on January 26, 2006 and were almost universally greeted with skepticism.
The American Cancer Society wrote in a public comment that the evidence at hand did not support such conclusions, and failed to meet the requisite scientific standards. Other groups complained that the California evidence lacked consistency and weight. Sanford H. Barsky, a practicing oncologist and Professor of Pathology at UCLA, said the findings flew in the face of the vast majority of peer-reviewed science, and further lacked biological plausibility. Still others have pointed out, citing several decades of study, that no convincing link has been found between breast cancer and even the most heavily active smoking.
But these crusaders apparently feel that science, like politicians' ears, can be bent and consensus can be achieved through the sheer weight of "public opinion." And the only consistency the pleaders seem to demand is "a consistent message from the public health community" on the "dangers of secondhand smoke."
Or to put that another way: the "message" doesn't have to be scientifically valid as long as it's consistent, and consistently scary. And can influence legislation.
“And that’s the way America’s smokers lose their basic civil liberties,” according to Audrey Silk, founder of NYC C.L.A.S.H. “It starts with this creative politicized pseudo-science, gets churned into propaganda, gets blasted out by the press, and then, bam, there’s another law excluding smokers from public life.”
Source material available upon request
Related material, "[Americans for Nonsmokers' Rights] Makes Fallacious Scientific Claims in Support of Smoking Bans" also available at http://tobaccoanalysis.blogspot.com/2006/03/another-anti-smoking-group-makes.html (a blog authored by a prominent tobacco control researcher)
NYC C.L.A.S.H. is a grassroots smokers' rights organization dedicated to advancing, promoting and protecting the interests of adults who choose to smoke cigarettes and is well-established with the media. Among other efforts, C.L.A.S.H. has sued NY State and City in Federal Court over the smoking bans. ### www.nycclash.com