An Unlikely Ally in the War on Nicotine


Jacob Sullum found an interesting article written by a prominent anti-smoker. In looking through Dr. Michael Siegel’s blog, he seems to be combating the War on Tobacco Smokers on two distinct fronts: Challenging bogus scientific claims and accusing his allies of being outright prohibitionists. Here’s a sample clip:

I’ll also be honest about something else. When I used to hear smokers’ rights groups claim that the anti-smoking movement was really about prohibition, I thought it was complete crap. But within the past few months, I’m starting to see that there is an element of truth to those claims. There is a faction within the tobacco control movement that I believe is motivated primarily by a hate for smokers and nothing short of prohibition will ever satisfy this element. But since anyone who suggests that perhaps we’re going down the wrong path will be censored or attacked, this element will never truly be challenged. And most scary, this element now seems to be the driving force, or a major driving force, within the movement. I think, therefore, that it is not inaccurate to state that the anti-smoking movement is now on a path towards advocating prohibition.

He’s not afraid to take on his allies:

It is one thing to make a mistake. But it is another thing to continue spreading false information when you know it to be false.

If this is what is occurring, then the anti-smoking movement is going to quickly lose its credibility and ruin its reputation because it will become clear that we don’t care about the accuracy of our public communications, only about the agenda that we are promoting.

Even though Siegel may be one of “the enemy”, it’s truly refreshing to see one of the opposition acting with a sense of honor.

Stephen Gordon

I like tasteful cigars, private property, American whiskey, fast cars, hot women, pre-bailout Jeeps, fine dining, worthwhile literature, low taxes, original music, personal privacy and self-defense rights -- but not necessarily in this order.

  1. Here in the people’s republic of Chicago, they have banned smoking cigarettes in all public places (including apartment buildings to my understanding).
    There are serious flaws in most of the studies about second hand smoke… sometimes an activist scientist is worse than an activist judge. While I have to admit that I once didn’t publish a study that went against my politics, at least I didn’t publish a biased study.

    But, who are we kidding? State and local governments are making way too much in sin taxes to make ban tobacco all together.

  2. I don’t see how some people see a hatred of tobacco and a hatred for smoking bans to be so contradictory. I’ve got ’em both. If I don’t like the extent to which tobacco is being used around me, I’ll leave. Otherwise, I’ll stay. Implicit in that decision is a calculation of how likely I am to be killed or get respiratory diseases from the situation, as well as how unpleasant the smell of tobacco is.

  3. I have a different theory, that the anti-tobacco strategy is actually to restrict smoking in so many little ways that the cumulative effect on smokers approaches that of an outright tobacco ban, but stops short of forcing them and the tobacco industry underground. Call it “tobacco prohibition by a thousand cuts.” This strategy would enable anti-tobacconists to sidestep accusations of neo-prohibitionism, a touchy subject for Democrats, especially those who also favor, say, legalized medical marijuana.

  4. Excellent blog article and three excellent posts! To see how the antismoking lobby not only juggles studies but manages to “fake” the results even when the actual numbers come out against them visit the BMJ Rapid Responses for the Helena study and read the following and below at:

    To roughly quote a free-choice campaigner (Clif Roberson) on alt.smokers from several years back: “Antismokers Lie. They lie all the time. They lie every time. They don’t know how to do anything else but lie.”

    Michael J. McFadden
    Author of “Dissecting Antismokers’ Brains”