Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Putting Smokers at a higher risk; The end justifies the means

While surfing around the internet for updates on what the FDA panel on tobacco control has been up to, I came across Brad Rodu's blog. Brad is a Professor of Medicine at the University of Louisville, who holds an endowed chair in tobacco harm reduction research, and he is also a member of the James Graham Brown Cancer Center at U of L.

In his most recent post, he describes how the tobacco control folk are willing to sacrifice the lives and the health (yes, there are healthy smokers) of 45 million smokers in America. Why would they do such a horrible thing one might wonder? Why, it's for the children of course. Tomorrow's children, who btw, will still smoke. The only difference will be that the cigarettes will be MORE toxic. And what about the 45 million who CURRENTLY smoke? Oh, to hell with 'em right? We're merely dirty, filthy smokers (with no human rights) who are going to die, so why not speed up the process a bit; anything to achieve the objective of a smoke-free world:

Tobacco Control Through Radical Nicotine Reduction

Benowitz and Henningfield acknowledged that reducing nicotine could harm the nation’s 45 million current smokers. ............ But they were willing to make an unacceptable compromise: ........their short-term (10-year) risk may be offset by the long-term benefit of a greater likelihood that they will stop smoking (as cigarettes become less satisfying) and by the enormous benefit of preventing nicotine addiction in future generations.”

Um, jail time anyone? Where the is the ACLU (and all of the other human/civil rights groups) when it comes to this issue? If there is any such thing as a "death panel", it is tobacco control.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Time for Californians to break out the pitchforks!

Time for Californians to break out the pitchforks!

Here we are, living in a time of furloughs, layoffs, and lost freedoms in California. Everyone seems to be angry about the budgetary crisis these days...the teachers’ unions, the police league, librarians, workers from the DMV...the list goes on. There are empty store fronts all over Los Angeles now. People are out of work....the city is trying to declare bankruptcy..Violent crime is on the rise in my neighborhood...the state can't balance its budget either....and you'd never guess what there IS $$$$$$$ for ! Which programs are they NOT cutting?

What am I talking about? Back in November 1988, California voters approved the Tobacco Tax and Health Promotion Act, i.e., prop 99. I am talking about the TRDRP (California's Tobacco-Related Disease Research Program), which receives its funding from prop 99. For anyone who's ever wondered about how the extremist elements of the anti-tobacco sentiment came to power in California, one needs to begin by looking into the origins of prop 99 and its affiliate organizations. The TRDRP is one such organization comprised of "experts" whose sole purpose is to make leapers out of a significant portion of the population. Tyrants everywhere would be proud.

In Christopher Snowdon's latest blog release he sheds light on just what this extreme, tax-payer funded hate campaign has been up to in this time of economic turmoil. The TRDRP you see, has been allocated $3.75 million to conduct a new study on the dangers of 3rd hand smoke. Chris rightly points out that their "scientific" agenda has already been pre-determined. The goal is to eliminate smokers (because our mere presence is a danger to others) from housing and thus, from society. Think I'm exaggerating? Read it for yourself here.

....."inform the policy makers to frame new policy in California to mitigate the public health effects?"

What new policy? We need MORE anti-smoking legislation in California? Haven't they seen all of the empty storefronts? Hasn't the state lost enough business? 1000s of employers leave the state every year, and (sorry for repeating myself), there's time and money for more hate-filled propaganda that's aimed towards American citizens? We are American citizens after all, aren't we? WE are paying for more ways than one. It's time to demand an end to the funding of this hate campaign. Call your representatives and tell them that we have had enough.

If only the people of California were to be made aware of the anti-progressive tactics of modern day California tobacco control. That this campaign has been allowed to become so powerful, vindictive, and corrupt makes me wonder why there aren't angry citizens with pitchforks down at every city hall and at the footsteps of Sacramento demanding change. Real change.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Obama’s Executive Order on Health

So here it is, June the 25th, 15 days after the release of President Obama’s Executive Order that officially establishes a Public Health Council at the Federal level. The purpose of this council is to promote healthful living and behavior modification. Who in their right minds would think that there would be time to consider such a measure? Consider the fact that our country is in a fiscal mess; add to that the oil spill in the Gulf, which is set to destroy much of the region’s economy (what is left of it post Hurricane Katrina). Never mind the fact that we are a free people in an otherwise free society. Free will, we don't need no stinking free will, do we?

It’s pretty crazy, huh? However, being a smoker, I am not in the least bit surprised by Obama’s actions; he does have to answer to the health lobby after all. Remember, he did promise us a national smoking ban during the primary debates. I am also not surprised by the power (and sheer force) that’s recently been bequeathed to the lifestyle zealots. The treatment that was once reserved for smokers is about to be unleashed upon the population at large. What does this mean? If you’re not a smoker, you are no longer sailing upon safe waters. I know what you were thinking (for those of you who are perfect in every way).. They aren’t going to come after you, well, because you don’t do anything that’s socially “unacceptable” (ie., "unhealthy"), do you? Therefore you don’t have anything to worry about, as the Nanny State doesn’t affect you. Smokers are being discriminated against because they harm others, right? Wrong. We have now traveled far beyond the slippery slope of what defines the public and the private. We lost private property (along with our right to be autonomous in our own body and spirit) rights when the mob of non-smokers chose to blindly go along with dictatorial politicians in implementing smoking bans when the solution could have been simple: Let the free market decide. This was merely a pre-cursor of what was to come. We are no longer living in a free market. Oh, but it was all for the public good. The real agenda of the Nanny State is clear now. They're out to protect YOU for YOUR own good. Therein lies the catch, the great trick that’s been played upon us all. It doesn't matter what political party you stand for, for if smokers are not allowed to own their own businesses and are denied the right to assemble with a legal (and heavily and overtaxed product), what else can smoking bans be about, other than the outright coercion of individuals in a once free society? Once the precedent is set, all of the other dominoes fall into place; meaning that they (the government, their special interests, the bureaucrats, and yes, even some private companies…call it collusion) can literally control anyone’s life, anywhere, if it is deemed to be for your own good. It was just a matter of time. I mean, we do have Equal Protection under the Law. If smokers are to be bullied, banned, and extorted, it’s only fair (under the law) that everyone (and anyone) else be treated equally; otherwise, the whole Nanny State agenda falls apart like a house of cards. Remember, it’s for your own good. That is precisely why no one is safe from the far reaching tentacles of the Nanny State (Left or Right) now.

What’s in this order anyway? Here are some things that make me go hmmmm…..


(a) The Surgeon General shall serve as the Chair of the Council, which shall be composed of:

(1) the Secretary of Agriculture;
(2) the Secretary of Labor;
(3) the Secretary of Health and Human Services;
(4) the Secretary of Transportation;
(5) the Secretary of Education;
(6) the Secretary of Homeland Security;
(7) the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency;
(8) the Chair of the Federal Trade Commission;
(9) the Director of National Drug Control Policy;
(10) the Assistant to the President and Director of the Domestic Policy Council;
(11) the Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Indian Affairs;
(12) the Chairman of the Corporation for National and Community Service; and
(13) the head of any other executive department or agency that the Chair may, from time to time, determine is appropriate.

I am dying to know what part the Secretary of Labor is going to play in this. I’m sure that they’re not going to be taking into account all of the people that have lost jobs in the hospitality industry, due to smoking bans. Oh, but what the hell, let’s just put some more people out of work, as the ends justify the means of achieving a “healthy” society. Hell, you may be pissed off, broke, jobless, and really stressed out, but hey, you’ll be a healthy as a tee-totaling crusader on a totalitarian rant.

The Secretary of Transportation…Ha, that’s a good one. I can’t imagine what role they’ll take in bossing us around. I do know that the public transit system in Chicago could use some help in updating itself, as could the near non-existent transit system in Los Angeles. Think about the health benefits: More construction jobs mean more people getting off of their duffs, which is good for both the physical and mental health of any human being; the reduction of stress (from no longer being jobless) would be of great benefit to the quality of life for many. It also means that more people could walk to the train (in L.A., for example) instead of smogging up the place, which is bad for your health btw; none of us can escape the smog in the same way that a raving anti-smoker could easily avoid a bar/restaurant that serves smokers. It’s nice to know that we have priorities.

Ok, and then there’s the Department of Homeland Security. Their role in this may actually make some sense of things, if they are indeed permitted to tell it like it is. For example, the anti-smoking health crusaders (and any other groups that dream of following in their footsteps) are a risk to Homeland Security, and therefore need to be relieved of their positions and affiliations with this Council (in any shape or form). Their prohibitionist tactics, bullying and exorbitant taxation has resulted in a booming black market, which adds to the coffers of terrorists. Yes, terrorists. Anti-smoking is a threat to our country. What happens when the black market expands to cover salted foods and fairly priced bottles of wine?

I see that our President has appointed an Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Indian Affairs? I do believe that many Native American (the Seneca Nation specifically) tribes have had enough of being pushed around by the government already as it is. The Seneca Nation is not too happy about the PACT Act, providing for some real tricky relations already as it is, after all. Surely, Obama must be aware of this. I can’t imagine how the further bullying of Indian nations is going to score political points over to our President’s side of the aisle. Maybe on the bright side, there is some hope. Maybe having an Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Indian Affairs means that the Native Americans will finally be able to tell greedy politicians everywhere to leave them the hell alone once and for all. After all, it was our politicians that created such a huge tobacco market for them in the first place. Lower the taxes and your prohibitionist tactics and the money will come back. Fair is fair. Hmmmm……

Here’s one that I love: The Chairman of the Corporation for National and Community Service. In this time of crises (ie., pissed off, un-employed folks from well, all over the country), I can’t fathom where the hell we’re going to be getting the money from to hire yet more annoying busybodies who are hell-bent on telling us what to eat, how much to exercise, and what (ok, not) to smoke. I can’t help but think that maybe some of that time, money, and “expertise” could be instead be spent to prevent inner city crime(s) like shootings/murders and violent crimes….you know, like, on pressing things of that nature. Oh, but busybodies are more concerned with taking that twinkie away from that kid on some street corner somewhere that is just about to join his first gang. Oh, the danger of twinkies and smoking.


Moving on….

b) develop, after obtaining input from relevant stakeholders, a national prevention, health promotion, public health, and integrative health-care strategy that incorporates the most effective and achievable means of improving the health status of Americans and reducing the incidence of preventable illness and disability in the United States, as further described in section 5 of this order;

(c) provide recommendations to the President and the Congress concerning the most pressing health issues confronting the United States and changes in Federal policy to achieve national wellness, health promotion, and public health goals, including the reduction of tobacco use, sedentary behavior, and poor nutrition;

Sedentary behavior? See, smokers are not alone anymore. All of you anti-smokers who sit on your butts all day are about to get a taste of your own medicine.

(d) Consider and propose evidence-based models……

Again, goodbye tobacco control. But……………

(c) contains a list of national priorities on health promotion and disease prevention to address lifestyle behavior modification (including smoking cessation, proper nutrition, appropriate exercise, mental health, behavioral health, substance-use disorder, and domestic violence screenings) and the prevention measures for the five leading disease killers in the United States;

(d) Contains specific science-based initiatives to achieve the measurable goals of the Healthy People 2020 program of the Department of Health and Human Services regarding nutrition, exercise, and smoking cessation, and targeting the five leading disease killers in the United States;

There he goes with the tobacco control thing again, but, at least we’re not alone. Everyone had better purchase a treadmill, and fast. Oh, and I would really like to know what his definition of “behavioral” health is? Do people who disagree with the current party in power fall under that category, and if so, what business is it of theirs? The potential for abuse here by the current (and future administrations) is not only immense, but it is equally as scary. Anyhoo, being a smoker, I keep finding myself going back to the issue of smoking. Being that science-based initiatives will be included as being part of the overall plan, does that mean that scientists who study reduced risk tobacco (and other products) products will have the de-facto ban on their participation removed? Probably not, but one can hope from some sanity, practicality, and freedom of choice (remember that?) in this crazy world. BTW, what is the Healthy People 2020 program anyway? I’m going to have to read up on that so that I may prepare myself for further encroachments upon my freedom as an American.

Oh, but in the very end President Obama states that:

(c) This order is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.

I’d really like some clarity on that one.

Maybe it's all a joke? I sure hope so.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Smoking Kills Puppies!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wow! Now, this is a headline that caught my attention when checking my Twitter today! Bobby Soave @ Reason magazine highlights the sheer insanity of the modern day tobacco control movement....And to imagine....I was just beginning (falsely) assume that the anti-tobacco rhetoric couldn't get any more ludicrous. One has to wonder what claim they will come up with next: Cigarettes cause global warming? Looking at tobacco turns you into a cyborg?

In hindsight though, there is some irony in all of this. Anti-tobacco' own addiction to persecuting smokers is going to be what brings them down in the end. For each time there is some new insidious claim that is thrown out into the media-blogosphere, there is yet one more person who fails to believe ANYTHING that they say any more. I say, the more that they talk, the closer they get to tumbling down their own house of cards.

A "smart" bill to fight smoking, er....smokers

Oi. What a load of CRAP!

A smart bill to fight smoking-

"Effective smoking-cessation treatments — which include certain medications, nicotine gums and patches, and group counseling — seldom cost more than a few hundred dollars and double the success rate over trying to quit without help."

Are they effing kidding? Nicotine gum and patches are effective in helping people to quit smoking? Smokers should be forced to except the fact that they (um, we) will be bullied even further? Haven't we been extorted enough? ... 5629.story

Not only does the inadequacy of this article annoy me, but so do some of the comments left by some of the anti-tobacco fanatics that lurk around every piece of propaganda like this that comes out. One can read the usual hate-filled and ill-informed arguments, one of which being the usual " smokers should be made to pay for the costs that they inflict upon society." What a load of vitriolic crappola. With a minimal amount of effort and research, one can easily debunk this position. For example:

Harvard Professor Kip Viscusi has repeatedly demonstrated that smokers already pay more in excise taxes than the social costs of their habits. Even before the MSA, “excise taxes on cigarettes equal or exceed the medical care costs associated with smoking.” Source here.

Oh, and speaking of those "effective" NRT therapies that benefit everyone else's bank account...except for smokers, of course... here is another example that immediately debunks the very claim being made in the L.A. Times opinion piece above:

"A success rate of a mere 8% demonstrates that the true aim of the smoking cessation industry is not that people give up smoking entirely, but that they take up smoking cessation support. Both the public and private sector elements of the health service have high stakes in this market in terms of jobs and sales of treatments. "

Source here from my friends over at Freedom 2 Choose, who have just recently embarked upon a peaceful protest with regards to this very issue at the 2010 UK Smoking Cessation Conference.

And, lastly for anyone who really believes that the anti-smoking movement is really about "health", read this article from Jacob Sullum @Reason Magazine:

Protect Vital Programs! Keep Smoking!

There we have it, the truth.