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A State of Recklessness - Part 4

Martin Hensman
18th February 2009

In Part 3 we looked at the following comment by the EU Reporter

Regular ….readers…. know that pro-smoking campaigners and anti-global warming theorists often turn out to be the same people. There should be no immediately logical reason for this connection, beyond those who are life’s natural flat-earth contrarians……..On flat earth, it may be cussed libertarianism which pits the issues of smoking and global warming together, but back in the real world, it is hard-nosed commercialism.


It is my personal experience that those who make wild untruthful accusations usually have something to hide.

We have already learned from watching the 2nd video of Carolyn Raffensperger, environmental attorney and founding executive director of the Science and Environmental Health Network that, in relation to the risks posed by tobacco consumption:

We live in a chemical soup. We face all sorts of problems and if we wait for certainty we are going to wait for dead bodies to pile up…The precautionary principle say we take action…..before the harm in order to prevent it....Even in the presence of scientific uncertainty.


This view had certainly not infiltrated the Court in 2005. Let us remind ourselves of the observations of the Court in the case of Mrs. Margaret McTear v Imperial Tobacco Limited Outer House Court of Session [2005] CSOH69 Lord Nimmo Smith stated that:
It is not within judicial knowledge that cigarette smoking can cause lung cancer: this is an issue which I am duty-bound to approach with an open mind and to decide on the basis of the evidence led before me; and the burden of proving it is on the pursuer……Epidemiology cannot be used to establish causation in any individual case, and the use of statistics applicable to the general population to determine the likelihood of causation in an individual is fallacious. Given that there are possible causes of lung cancer other than cigarette smoking, and given that lung cancer can occur in a non-smoker, it is not possible to determine in any individual case whether but for an individual's cigarette smoking he probably would not have contracted lung cancer.


Readers will no doubt have noted that McTear was a claim in relation to the harm suffered as a direct consequence of primary smoking. In contrast, the smoking ban was enacted to protect non-smokers from the effects of secondary tobacco smoke.

I have already pointed out that in order to circumvent the common law negligence principle it would be necessary for lobby groups such as Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) to find an alternative tool for the job. Is there any additional evidence to suggest a link between ASH and the Environmentalists?

Yes there most certainly is for examination of the ASH website revealed that the following document was parked there in obvious view:

Tobacco Control: don't trade away public health
Summary the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control negotiations in 2003 by Remi Parmentier,Political Adviser for ASH. Remi Parmentier examines the role between tobacco control and free trade.
Source

For those of you who do not recognise the name I can tell you that Remi Parmetier:

likes to define himself as a “free-lance agitator”. “Regardless of whether the work is for an NGO, a commercial business or a governmental organisation Rémi provides on an on-going basis advice and develops international policies and strategies for a wide and diverse range of entities and issues. These include for example: meetings of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Body for the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, the World Health Assembly, the European Parliament and the European Commission, among others.


He was a founding member of the environmental group Greenpeace International (1979)
You can consult his biography >>> here

So it would appear that fake Charity ASH engaged environmentalist Parmetier as consultant. Hmmm.

Within his work Tobacco Control: don't trade away public health, 8 March, 2003 he writes:

When I responded to a request from friends in the tobacco control community to attend last week’s World Health Organisation (WHO) negotiations for the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), I thought I would be in for an easy – albeit interesting – ride. But I was wrong.

Friends in the environmental and social justice movements wondered what I was doing taking on such a ‘soft’ issue as smoking, an issue of ‘individual choice’ which could hardly be considered one of the more pressing issues of the day. But I quickly came to learn that the negotiations around the Tobacco Convention epitomise all of the same dynamics which I’d faced the year before in the run-up to the World Summit on Sustainable Development:

In particular, there are interesting parallels between the tobacco experience and environmental negotiations involving scientific uncertainty and implementation of the precautionary principle.


Is there any evidence of the influence of the precautionary principle in current UK Government decision making? The following extract from the Parliamentary debate over the Alcohol Labelling Bill [HL], 20 Apr 2007 provides the answer.

Lord Mitchell:

"Alcohol is a lethal poison. It has the potential to cause great harm to a foetus. It can kill brain cells that can never be replaced; it can damage the nervous system and connections within the brain itself; and it can retard the growth of vital organs, particularly the heart and lungs. Like tobacco and lung cancer, the correlation is not perfect. People who do not smoke still get lung cancer, just as people who smoke do not get lung cancer.......We also thought long and hard about the inevitable objections that will be raised. The words 'nanny state' have already been raised in some quarters…."


Baroness Finlay of Llandaff:

My Lords, I support the Bill introduced by the noble Lord, Lord Mitchell. Drinking alcohol to excess in pregnancy is known to harm the unborn child. As the noble Lord has said, we do not know whether there is a safe level of alcohol intake during pregnancy. Although there is overwhelming evidence of harm, there is no evidence of harm from abstinence. The Government’s policy, which is based on a PRECAUTIONARY PRINCIPLE is eminently sensible.


Of course it is no surprise to discover that Professor the Baroness Finlay of Llandaff is President of ASH (Wales)



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