Thursday, December 07, 2006

Dr. Siegel of Boston University discusses his concerns regarding ClearWay MN (MPAAT) and the Association of Nonsmokers - Minnesota's intentional lies

In this article titled:

Minnesota Anti-Smoking Organizations Fail to Respond to Challenge; What May Have Been Simple Mistake Now Appears to Have Become Intentional Deception

Dr. Siegel writes:

Last Tuesday, I issued a challenge to two Minnesota anti-smoking groups to retract or correct inaccurate public statements that they made or were making about the acute health effects of secondhand smoke. This challenge was communicated directly to representatives of both groups via email.

The first challenge, issued to the Association of Nonsmokers - Minnesota, was to retract its fallacious (and absurd) claim, issued in an August 30 press release, that just 30 seconds of secondhand smoke exposure causes damage to the coronary arteries of nonsmokers that is equivalent to the damage suffered by active smokers:

"Research studies have shown that even just thirty seconds of exposure to secondhand smoke can make coronary artery function of non-smokers indistinguishable from smokers.

"The second challenge, issued to ClearWay Minnesota, was to retract or correct its fallacious claims that: (1) brief exposure to secondhand smoke causes decreased coronary artery blood flow in healthy young adults; and (2) eating in a smoky restaurant increases the risk of fatal and non-fatal cardiac events in nonsmokers by 30%:

(1) "Blood flow in the coronary arteries is decreased in healthy young adults exposed to secondhand smoke."

(2) "Current scientific data suggest that eating in a smoky restaurant can precipitate myocardial infarctions in nonsmokers and increase the risk of fatal and non-fatal cardiac events in nonsmokers by about 30 percent.

"In response to this challenge, neither the Association for Nonsmokers - Minnesota nor ClearWay Minnesota took any action of which I am aware.

Nowhere on the Association for Nonsmokers website can I find a retraction, correction, or apology of any kind for it deceiving the media and potentially the public into believing that the coronary artery function of an active smoker is no worse than that of a nonsmoker who is exposed to tobacco smoke for just 30 seconds. And I am similarly unaware of any subsequent press release issued by the group to correct its original press release.

ClearWay Minnesota did not correct either its inaccurate and deceptive claim that a healthy young nonsmoker exposed to secondhand smoke will suffer a decrease in coronary blood flow or its claim that a nonsmoker who eats in a smoky restaurant will suffer a 30% increased risk of a heart attack. The smoking ban manual retains the original fallacious claims.

Dr Siegel goes on to conclude:

But most importantly, it means that we don't have scientific accuracy and integrity anymore. This is very sad and discouraging for me. But I won't say that I'm surprised. I've seen enough of the anti-smoking movement's lack of interest in the scientific accuracy (link mine) of its statements over the past few months to have expected both of these groups to fail to respond to my challenge.

The movement is rapidly losing its scientific accuracy and scientific integrity and frankly, I don't think any group in tobacco control really gives a damn.

Certainly I don't expect ClearWay MN (formerly MPAAT) or the Association of Nonsmokers - Minnesota to stop their deceitful, lying statements.......but I publish this article so that lawmakers realize how foolish they are to believe anything the pro-smoking ban activists have to say.

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