NO FRIEND OF FREEDOM 2 CHOOSE
An article in a recent anti-alcohol publication has perpetuated the lie that Freedom 2 Choose is funded by the Tobacco Industry.
The organisation, which has demanded that the Scottish booze industry drops its legal challenge to minimum pricing, published the document "The ‘(Ir)responsibility Deal’?: Public Health and Big Business" in preparation for a conference held on 15 April.
They introduce their publication by saying:
"SHAAP (Scottish Health Action on Alcohol Problems) and our member Royal Colleges have become increasingly aware that some tactics employed by the alcohol industry to subvert or circumvent legitimate public health policy interventions mirror those which have been used and continue to be employed by powerful operators in the tobacco and food industries. This happens in spite of the precedence given in domestic and EU law to the protection of human health over economic interests.
This seminar (15/04/13) at the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh will bring together expert clinicians with experience of the alcohol, tobacco and food industries to launch a paper and discuss concerns with other key stakeholders, including health professionals and media representatives. This will serve as an important marker that health professionals are serious about challenging the dominance of ‘Big Business’ over public health interests. Our intention is to build a long term coalition over these issues.
It contains an essay "Tobacco and health – the last 60 years" written by Dr James Friend, Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh and retired Respiratory Physician.
His essay has a section "What has the tobacco industry been doing since 1950?" to which one of his answers is
"...Funding organisations such as FOREST( Freedom Organisation to Enjoy Smoking Tobacco), Freedom2Choose, and retailers’ organisations, to achieve ‘grass roots’ opposition to tobacco control..."
After strong protests and representations from the F2C Executive Committee, the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh has recommended that the offending article is withdrawn and the matter investigated. We have been promised a full reply by 7 May.
FROM THE ARCHIVES: SMOKE, LIES AND THE NANNY STATE
Joe Jackson, pictured, wrote this excellent essay in April 2007.
This is still one of the best and clearest pieces of writing on the subject we have ever read. Below we give an extract.
"THE SMOKING-RELATED DISEASE
This is one of the antismokers’ cleverest inventions. To say that a disease is ‘smoking-related’ is not the same as saying that it is directly caused by smoking, or that there is any actual proof of anything. It means simply that someone has decided that smoking may be a factor in that disease. Over the last couple of decades, more and more diseases have been added to the list, often with very little evidence. Heart disease was one of the first, even though it has something like 300 risk factors, and some major studies ...have shown not only that the link with smoking is weak, but that moderate smokers have less heart disease than nonsmokers...
The fact is that many statistics about smoking (and especially ‘secondhand’ smoke) are simply made up. For instance, until cervical cancer was recently proven to be caused by a virus, a completely random 13% of cases were attributed to smoking. Many of the estimates of smoking deaths are produced by one computer program. It’s called SAMMEC (Smoking Attributable Morbidity, Mortality, and Economic Cost) and depending on which data you feed in, and which you leave out, it can produce pretty much any number you want. The great thing about the ‘smoking-related disease,’ is that it allows you to create the perception of a raging epidemic. The UK government says that 100,000 or 120,000 deaths per year (depending on who is speaking at the time) are caused by ‘smoking-related disease’. The impression given is that these are all deaths specifically, and provably, caused by smoking, but it is no such thing. It includes nonsmokers who die of bronchitis or strokes, and smokers who die of heart attacks in their 80s. It includes people who quit smoking decades before. It is not exactly lying, but it is deliberately misleading, it is fearmongering, and in my opinion these people should be ashamed of themselves."
To read the full essay, thoroughly recommended, go here.