March 2, 2013

Tobacco

Naomi Oreskes: Merchants of Doubt

Secretary of Health and Human Services [George H W Bush Administration]:
The question of whether or not tobacco smoke is carcinogenic … was conclusively resolved more than 20 years ago …
Involuntary smoking is a cause of disease, including lung cancer, in healthy nonsmokers. …
Ambient tobacco smoke also caused respiratory illness and decreased lung function in infants and young children and increased the risk of asthma.
As a physician … I believe that parents should refrain from smoking.
(Covering Letter)

Robert Windom [Physician nominated by President Ronald Reagan]:
Actions to protect nonsmokers from ETS [Environmental Tobacco Smoke] exposure not only are warranted, but are essential to protect public health. …
(Executive Summary, The Health Consequences of Involuntary Smoking, US Department of Health and Human Services, 1986)

Sylvester Stallone was paid $500,000 to use Brown and Williamson products in … five feature films to link smoking with power and strength, rather than sickness and death.
(p 139)

The industry promoted the idea of “sick building syndrome" to suggest that headaches and other problems suffered by workers in smoky atmospheres were caused by the buildings, not smoke. …

In December 1992, the EPA released Respiratory Health Effects of Passive Smoking.
The report attributed 3,000 lung cancer deaths per year to secondhand smoke, as well as 150,000 to 300,000 cases of bronchitis and pneumonia in infants and young children.
Another 200,000 to 1,000,000 children had their asthma aggravated, and ETS also increased the risk of asthma in children who did not already have it.
(p 140)

Environmental tobacco smoke [is] a class A — a known human - carcinogen. …

[There is clear evidence] that ETS [increases] the risk of SIDS.

[In thirty studies of] high spousal exposure [seventeen] showed increased risk, nine at the 95% confidence level, and [eight] at the 90% level.
[Among] women who smoked, the lung cancer rate was even higher if their husbands also smoked.
This showed that ETS added extra risk on top of that carried by smoking itself.
(p 141)

S Fred Singer [Science and Environment Policy Project]:
Of the 30 studies reviewed by EPA, 24 showed no statistically significant correlation between secondary smoke and cancer, and the remaining 6 showed a correlation too small for researchers to rule out other factors than can affect the incidence of cancer, such as diet, outdoor air pollution, genetics or prior lung disease.

Unable to maneuver this issue through a barrier of long-held statistical standards, the EPA simply reduced the confidence interval for these studies from 95 to 90% — thereby doubling the margin for error and forcing the conclusion of increased risk.
If secondary smoke is so serious a problem, why did the EPA have to rig the numbers?
(Junk Science at the EPA, Draft Op-Ed, commissioned by APCO Associates on behalf of Philip Morris, 12 May, 1993, p 2)

US Department of Health and Human Services:
[There] is no risk-free level of exposure to second-hand smoke: even small amounts … can be harmful to people's health.
(The Health Consequences of Involuntary Exposure to Tobacco Smoke: A Report of the Surgeon General, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, June 27, 2006)

Sheldon Rampton and John Stauber:
Originally dubbed the “Restoring Integrity to Science Coalition,” the Advancement of Sound Science Coalition was later renamed to resemble the venerable American Association for the Advancement of Science.
[Unfortunately,] the resulting acronym was not terribly flattering — ASSC, or worse, the ASS Coalition — [so they capitalized the definite] article “the” at the beginning of the name, and TASSC was born …
(How Big Tobacco Helped Create “the Junkman”, PR Watch, Vol 7, No 3, 2000, p 6)

BenefitsTax revenue from cigarette sales
Savings from early deaths ($1227 per person):
  • Health care
  • Pensions
  • Housing costs
CostsIncreased health care costs
Net gain from smoking$147 million


The Benefits of Smoking


Nick Minchin: Former Liberal Senator for South Australia

Senator Nick Minchin has criticised the Federal Government's plan to increase the tax on cigarettes [on ABC television last night] as he told smokers to:
Go for it!
They die early, they actually save us money …
(Australian Associated Press, Senator Nick Minchin praises smokers 'dying early', news.com.au, 4 May, 2010)


In 1995, a Senate committee report recorded Minchin as expressing a minority view.
Senator Minchin wishes to record his dissent from the committee's statements:
  • that it believes cigarettes are addictive, and
  • that passive smoking causes a number of adverse health effects for non-smokers.

[And, on] ABC1's Q&A:
… I defend the right of smokers in a liberal, free, democratic country to smoke …
If people choose to die of something, as a Liberal I think:
That's your problem.
(Mike Skeketee, Some sceptics make it a habit to be wrong, The Australian, 20 November, 2010)


Corrupting Science


Philip Morris USA

Key Messages

  • Science [should never] be corrupted to achieve political ends.
  • Economic growth cannot afford to be held hostage to paternalistic, overregulation.
  • Improving indoor air quality is a laudable goal that will never be accomplished as long as tobacco smoke is the sole focus of regulators.
  • Unfounded fear — whether it be from dioxin, Alar, tobacco smoke, cellular telephones — only benefits plaintiff lawyers who are always trying to win a fast buck.


Strategies

  • To form local coalitions to help us educate the local media, legislators and the public at large about the dangers of “junk science' and to caution them from taking regulatory steps before fully understanding the costs in both economic and human terms. …
  • To implement our communications objective of identifying members of the media who might write supportive articles …
  • [To] train and identify credible spokespeople …


Objectives

Our overriding objective is to discredit the EPA report [on Environmental Tobacco Smoke.]
[It] is our objective to prevent states and cities, as well as businesses from passing smoking bans.
[Where] possible we will proactively seek to pass accommodation legislation with preemption. …
  • Associate EPA study with broader questions about agency research and government regulations.
  • Link issue with other more "politically correct" products.
  • Have non-industry messengers provide reasons for legislators, business executives and media to view EPA study with extreme caution. …

Assumptions

  • No matter how strong the arguments, industry spokespeople are, in and of themselves, are not always credible or appropriate messengers.
  • Non-industry spokespeople will challenge EPA study if issue is broadened beyond the scope of this individual report. …
  • The right spokespeople will produce the right popular media response which will produce the right public response.
  • A coalition building and grassroots strategy should be inter-woven with a communications strategy. …
  • A single messenger speaking out on multiple messages will not have nearly as much impact as several messengers promoting one or two messages each.


Strategy One

Restoring Integrity to Science Coalition (RISC)
  • A national coalition intended to educate the media, public officials and the public about the dangers of "junk science."
    Coalition will address credibility of government's scientific studies, risk assessment techniques and misuse of tax dollars.
  • Coalition is composed of a board that includes scientists, business executives from "targeted" industries and other spokespeople seeking to improve quality of EPA research.

Strategy Three

Increase broad-based support for "holistic" approach to indoor air quality legislation.
  • Ensure that in targeted states there is a comprehensive indoor air quality measure introduced in legislature.
  • Mobilize grassroots support, particularly among labor and members of hospitality industry, in favor of "holistic" approach.

(Memo from Ellen Merlo [VP Corporate Affairs] to William Campbell [President and CEO], 17 February, 1993)


Brown and Williamson Tobacco

  • [Our] product is doubt,
  • our message is truth — well stated, and
  • our competition is the body of anti-cigarette fact that exists in the public mind. …

We have chosen the mass public as our consumer [because:]
  • The Congress and federal agencies are already being dealt with … by the Tobacco Institute.
  • It is a group with little exposure to the positive side of smoking and health
  • It is the prime force in influencing [government policy, since] without public support little effort would be given to a crusade against cigarettes.

Doubt … is the best means of competing with the "body of fact" that exists in the mind of the general public.
It is also the means of establishing a controversy.
If we are successful in establishing a controversy at the public level, then there is an opportunity to put across the real facts about smoking and health.

(Memo to R A Pittman, 21 August, 1969)


Contents


Corrupting Science

Doubt is Our Product

What's Bad Science? Who Decides
Radioactive Smoke

Tobacco Control


NAOMI ORESKES (1958)


Professor of the History of Science and Affiliated Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Harvard University.

  • Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming, Bloomsbury, New York, 2010.
    Naomi Oreskes & Erik Conway.

    DOUBT IS OUR PRODUCT


    [Professor] Stanton Glantz and his colleagues [at the University of California] have shown [that] by the early 1960s the [tobacco] industry's own scientists had concluded not only that smoking caused cancer, but also that nicotine was addictive (a conclusion that … the industry would continue to deny well into the 1990s). …
    Vice President [Brown and Williamson Tobacco, 1963]:
    We are … in the business of selling nicotine, an additive drug. …

    Head of Research and Development [Brown and Williamson Tobacco, 1965]:
    [Industry scientists are] unanimous in their opinion that smoke is … carcinogenic.
    (p 21)

    When Congress held hearings in 1965 on bills to require health warnings on tobacco packages and advertisements, the tobacco industry responded with
    a parade of dissenting doctors [and a] cancer specialist [who warned] against going off 'half cocked' in the controversy.
    (p 23)

    By the mid-1980s, [the Tobacco industry had spent more than] $100 million [on pro-smoking biomedical research].
    One industry document happily reported that
    this expenditure exceeds that given for research by any other source except the federal government.
    [Grants] had been distributed to 640 investigators in 250 hospitals, medical schools, and research institutions.
    The American Cancer Society and American Lung Association in 1981 devoted just under $300,000 to research; that same year, the tobacco industry gave $6.3 million.
    (p 25)
    [Tobacco industry documents:]
    Support [for scientific research] over the years has produced a number of authorities upon whom the industry could draw for expert testimony in court suits and hearings by governmental bodies.
    (p 29, italics added)

    The industry was finally found guilty under the RICO Act (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations).
    In 2006, US district judge Gladys Kessler found that the tobacco industry had
    devised and executed a scheme to defraud consumers and potential consumers
    about the hazards of cigarettes, hazards that their own internal company documents proved they had known about since the 1950's.
    (p 31)

    [It] was not until the 1990s that the industry began to lose cases in courts.
    And although the FDA sought to regulate tobacco as an addictive drug in the early 1990s, it was not until 2009 that the US Congress finally gave them the authority to do so.
    (p 33)

    This was the tobacco industry's key insight: that you could use normal scientific uncertainty to undermine the status of actual scientific knowledge.
    (p 34)

    The tobacco road would lead through Star Wars, nuclear winter, acid rain, and the ozone hole, all the way to global warming.
    Seitz and his colleagues would fight the facts and merchandise doubt all the way.
    (p 35)


    WHAT'S BAD SCIENCE? WHO DECIDES? THE FIGHT OVER SECONDHAND SMOKE


    The Fight Over Secondhand Smoke


    In 1986 … a new Surgeon General's report that concluded that secondhand smoke could cause cancer even in otherwise healthy non smokers.
    When the EPA took steps to limit indoor smoking, Fred Singer joined forces with the Tobacco Institute to challenge the scientific basis of secondhand smoke's health risks.


    A Brief History of Secondhand Smoke


    In the 1970s, industry researchers had found that sidestream smoke contained more toxic chemicals than mainstream smoke — in part because smoldering cigarettes burn at lower temperatures at which more toxic compounds are created.
    [They tried to] produce less harmful sidestream smoke by improving filters, changing cigarette papers, or adding components to make the cigarettes burn at higher temperatures.
    They also tried to make cigarettes whose sidestream smoke was not less dangerous, but simply less visible. …

    [In 1980] a paper in the … New England journal of Medicine [showed] that nonsmokers working in smoky offices had decreased lung function — as much as if they were actually light smokers.
    It was a large study — twenty-one hundred subjects — and it was statistically significant, but the science was heavily criticized.
    [Nearly] all the critics [of the study] had links to the tobacco industry, but they still had a point: it was hard to demonstrate just how much passive smoke a person was exposed to. …

    In 1981 [Takeshi Hirayama (Chief epidemiologist, National Cancer Center Research Institute, Tokyo)] showed that Japanese women whose husbands smoked had much higher death rates from lung cancer than those whose husbands did not.
    (p 137)

    The study [involved] 540 women in twenty-nine different health care districts studied over fourteen years — and showed a clear dose-response curve: the more the husbands smoked, the more the wives died from lung cancer. …

    [The Tobacco Institute (TI)] hired consultants [including biostatistian, Nathan Mantel,] to mount a counterstudy and undermine Hirayama's reputation. …
    Leading newspapers [ran] articles with headlines such as
    SCIENTIST DISPUTES FINDINGS OF CANCER RISK TO NONSMOKERS
    and
    NEW STUDY CONTRADICTS NON-SMOKERS' RISK
    Then the industry ran full-page ads in major newspapers highlighting these headlines.

    [Meanwhile, in private memos] industry advisors acknowledged that the Hirayama study was correct.
    Hirayama [and his defenders] are correct and Mantel and TI are wrong …

    [Industry scientific advisors] believe Hirayama is a good scientist and that his nonsmoking wives publication was correct …

    Hirayama was correct, that the TI knew it, and that TI [attacked] Hirayama knowing that the work was correct.
    (p 138)
    Ellen Merlo [Vice President, Philip Morris]
    All of us whose livelihoods depend upon tobacco sales — directly or indirectly — must band together into a unified force …
    [It's] not a question of
    [Are] we going to do well or badly … this year?
    It's a question of:
    Are we going to be able to survive and continue to make a living in this industry in the years to come? …
    If smokers can't smoke on the way to work, at work, in stores, banks, restaurants, malls and other public places, they are going to smoke less …
    The Center for Tobacco Research set up a “special projects" office to [develop:]
    • countervailing scientific evidence,
    • expert witnesses, and
    • industry-sponsored conferences
    to challenge the emerging scientific consensus.
    Several of these special projects were run though a law firm to shield these efforts from scrutiny using attorney-client privilege.
    (p 139) They attempted to join forces with antitax groups to resist cigarette excise taxes. …

    Project Whitecoat … enlisted European scientists to
    [Reverse] scientific and popular misconception that ETS [environmental tobacco smoke] is harmful. …

    In 1991, Philip Morris executives outlined four objectives …

    1. {"to maintain the controversy … about tobacco smoke in public and scientific forums."
      The budget … was $16 million. …}
    2. to fight bans on smoking in workplaces and restaurants …
    3. to maintain smoking areas in transportation facilities like airports …
    4. to promote the idea of “accommodation" — that smokers (like the disabled?) had the right to be accommodated. …


    The tobacco industry had promoted the use of the phrase "environmental tobacco smoke" … perhaps because it seemed less threatening …
    [This] proved a tactical mistake, because it virtually invited EPA scrutiny.
    (p 140)

    Human studies face the difficulty that it is generally unethical to deliberately expose people to known or suspected risks.
    Statistically based epidemiology grapples with the well-known problem that correlation is not causation: some associations occur by chance. …
    [These] limitations could be addressed through the weight-of-evidence approach: no one study is perfect, but each can contribute useful information. …

    Environmental tobacco smoke contains the same chemicals found in direct smoke and these chemicals were known to cause cancer in lab rats.
    So when the epidemiology revealed increased rates of cancer in the wives of smokers, with a clear dose-response curve, it was reasonable to infer a causal connection. …
    Lots of smoke produced lots of cancer.
    Less smoke produced less cancer.
    The effects were seen in the United States, Germany, and Japan, despite other differences in lifestyle, diet, and the like.
    (p 142)

    In 1990, Singer had created his Science and Environment Policy Project to
    [Promote] 'sound science' in environmental policy.
    What did it mean to promote "sound science"?
    The answer is, at least in part, to defend the tobacco industry.

    By 1993, he was helping the industry to promote the concept of sound science to support science they liked and to discredit as “junk" any science they didn't.
    He did this in collaboration with APCO Associates, the public relations firm that Philip Morris had hired to help with the secondhand smoke campaign. …
    Tom Hockaday [APCO]:
    We have been working with Dr Fred Singer and Dr Dwight Lee [Economist, Ramsey Chair of Private Enterprise, University of Georgia], who have authored articles on junk science and indoor air quality …
    Attached you will find copies of the … articles which have been approved by Drs Singer and Lee.
    (Memo to Ellen Merlo, Vice President, Philip Morris, March, 1993)
    (p 143)
    Fred Singer [Science and Environment Policy Project]:
    The latest "crisis" — environmental tobacco smoke — has been widely criticized as the most shocking distortion of scientific evidence yet. …
    The litany of questionable crises emanating from the Environmental Protection Agency is by no means confined to these three issues.
    It could just as easily include
    • lead,
    • radon,
    • asbestos,
    • acid rain,
    • global warming, and
    • a host of others. …
    When decisions are made on the basis of public hysteria, created by screaming headlines and tabloid TV, the citizenry is cheated out of billions of dollars that might be better spent on truly improving the public health.
    (Junk Science at the EPA, Draft Op-Ed, commissioned by APCO Associates on behalf of Philip Morris, May 12, 1993, pp 2-3)
    By the early 1990s, every one of these items — lead, radon, asbestos, and global warming — had come under serious scrutiny because of substantial scientific evidence, and in every case that concern has been legitimated by further scientific work.
    The EPA had a legal obligation to be concerned about these things.
    But the agency had not called ETS a “crisis."
    That was Singer's word.
    EPA had called it a carcinogen and therefore a risk. …

    The EPA scientists had considered and ruled out other factors. …
    No one had denied that genetics and lifestyle played a role in health and disease, but the statistical evidence was overwhelming that ETS was an added risk.
    It is not plausible to suppose that Singer did not understand this — he was a highly educated and intelligent man — but the reality wasn't convenient to his motivation.
    He was not practicing science; he was attacking it.
    His broader purpose [was] to stop or delay regulation regarding secondhand smoke. …

    Bad Science: A Resource Book was a how-to handbook for fact fighters [distributed by the tobacco industry].
    It contained [252] pages of snappy quotes and reprinted editorials, articles, and op-ed pieces that challenged the authority and integrity of science … on secondhand smoke.
    It also included a list of experts with scientific credentials available to comment on any issue about which a think tank or corporation needed a negative sound bite. …
    MESSAGES:
    Too often science is manipulated to fulfill a political agenda. …

    Government agencies … betray the public trust by violating principles of good science in a desire to achieve a political goal. …

    No agency is more guilty of adjusting science to support preconceived public policy prescriptions than the [EPA]. …

    Public policy decisions that are based on bad science impose enormous economic costs on all aspects of society. …

    Like many studies before it, EPA's recent report concerning environmental tobacco smoke allows political objectives to guide scientific research. …

    Proposals that seek to improve indoor air quality by singling out tobacco smoke only enable bad science to become a poor excuse for enacting new laws and jeopardizing individual liberties. …

    (Bad Science: A Resource Book, Draft, Philip Morris, March 26, 1993, pp 2-4)
    Bad Science contained no primary sources or annotations.
    Nearly all the quotes were assertions presented as facts.
    (pp 144-145)

    Bad Science was a compendium of attacks on science, published in places like the Washington Times, and written by staff of the Competitive Enterprise Institute.
    (p 147)

    The goal wasn't to correct scientific mistakes and place regulation on a better footing.
    It was to undermine regulation by challenging the scientific foundation on which it would be built.


    Blaming the Messenger: The Industry Attack on the EPA


    Craig Fuller was a former chief of staff to Vice President George HW Bush; in 1993 he also worked with Ellen Merlo to defend ETS by attacking the EPA. …
    In July, Fuller paid $200,000 to a group called Federal Focus, Inc, run by James Tozzi.
    Tozzi had been an administrator at the Office of Management and Budget in the Reagan administration …
    [He] was well-known … for his resistance to the scientific evidence that aspirin causes Reye's syndrome in children.
    [Public health officials] charged him with perfecting the strategy of “paralysis by analysis”: insisting on more, and more, and more, data in order to avoid doing any thing …
    [It was Tozzi who] suggested that Federal Focus could channel money to the Marshall Institute for further work on ETS [because it had no] obvious links to Philip Morris …
    James Tozzi:
    [The] Marshall Institute will have considerable credibility since it does not take funding from private companies nor the government.
    It is funded solely through foundations such as Federal Focus …
    When Investor's Business Daily ran a front-page article favorable to the tobacco industry [written by Tom Borelli (Manager of Corporate Scientific Affairs, Philip Morris)] Fuller sent a memo [saying that]
    [It] ought to be mailed to every one of our allies and any opinion leaders we can get it to as quickly as possible.
    It offers a comprehensive review that is among the best I've seen. …
    (p 148)

    [The tobacco industry targeted journalists] whom they considered susceptible to the suggestion that environmentalism had run amok.
    These included
    • Nicholas Wade, science editor of the New York Times,
    • P J O'Rourke at Rolling Stone
    • Gregg Easterbrook, a frequent writer for the New Republic [and later,]
    • Rush Limbaugh. …
    Most of the science upon which the EPA relied was independent — it came from academic researchers and other federal agencies, such as the National Institutes of Health, the Food and Drug Administration, and the Department of the Interior — so attacks on the EPA as a corrupt bureaucracy wouldn't work alone; they'd have to be coupled with attacks on the science itself.
    Victor Han [Communications Director, Philip Morris]:
    [The EPA was] an agency that is
    • at least misguided and aggressive,
    • at worst corrupt and controlled by environmental terrorists …
    The industry would abandon its defensive posture — defending smokers' right to smoke — and argue instead that
    Victor Han:
    [Over-regulation was leading to] out-of-control expenditures of taxpayer money. …
    [The] tobacco industry didn't want to make the EPA work better and more sensibly; they wanted to bring it down.
    Victor Han:
    The credibility of EPA is defeatable, but not on the basis of ETS alone.
    It must be part of a larger mosaic that concentrates all of the EPA's enemies against it at one time. …
    "Junk science" quickly became the tag line of Steven J Milloy [who operated] TASSC — The Advancement of Sound Science Coalition …
    Milloy — who later became a commentator for Fox News — was affiliated with the Cato Institute and had previously been a lobbyist at Multinational Business Services (MBS) — a firm hired by Philip Morris in the early 1990s to assist in the defense of secondhand smoke.
    (Milloy's supervisor at MBS had been James Tozzi.)

    TASCC was launched by APCO Associates, in November 1993, with measures taken to hide the Philip Morris connection.
    APCO was enlisted because Philip Morris's main PR agency, Burson-Marsteller, was too obviously associated with the tobacco giant. …
    John Boltz [Media Affairs Manager, Philip Morris] supplied APCO with a list of sympathetic reporters …
    The launch … focused on “receptive" secondary markets, rather than … New York and Washington [where investigative reporters from major media were more likely to uncover the connection.]
    (p 150)

    The launch was deemed sufficiently successful that [Philip Morris] budgeted over $500,000 for TASSC efforts in 1994.

    Scientific advisors to TASSC included Fred Singer, Fred Seitz, and Michael Fumento [— former pro-industry campaigners on tobacco, acid rain, and ozone.]
    Richard Lindzen … a major global warming skeptic … was also invited to join.
    The goal, as Craig Fuller put it, was to mobilize as many "third party allies" as possible.

    … Milloy wrote articles for the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Times, and Investor's Business Daily, and created … JunkScience.com …
    It didn't matter who had done the work — the EPA, the World Health Organization, the US National Academy of Sciences, or distinguished scientists at private universities.
    If the results challenged the safety of a commercial product, Milloy attacked them.
    (p 151)

    They also created a “Sound Science in Journalism Award," first granted to New York Times reporter Gina Kolata …

    [Despite TASSCs successful media penetration] the American people were increasingly turning against smoking [so] the industry now launched … yet another think tank … the Alexis de Tocqueville Institution. …
    Officially the mission of the Alexis de Tocqueville Institution is to promote democracy …
    [In] 1993 the Institution decided to promote democracy by defending secondhand smoke.

    “EPA and the Science of Environmental Tobacco Smoke" was written by Fred Singer and Kent Jeffreys.
    [Jeffreys was] a lawyer affiliated with the Cato Institute, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, and the Republican Party.
    He was well-known for his attacks on Superfund — the federal fund designed to pay for the cleanup of toxic waste sites — and for his advocacy of "free-market environmentalism."
    One of his slogans was “behind every tree should stand a private … owner."
    To prevent overfishing, Jeffreys wanted to privatize the oceans.

    The defense of secondhand smoke was part of a larger report criticizing the EPA over radon, pesticides, and the Superfund …
    It began by accusing the federal government of seeking [an EPA administered] ban on smoking [— even though] there was no pending legislation to do so …
    (p 152)

    [The report was released] at a press conference held by two members of Congress — Peter Geren, Democrat from Texas, and John Mica, Republican from Florida …

    [So, what is bad science?]
    It's science [where]
    • data have been invented, fudged, or manipulated [or]
    • data have been cherry-picked [ie] some data have been deliberately left out — or
    • it's impossible for the reader to understand the steps that were taken to produce or analyze the data.
    It is a set of claims
    • that can't be tested …
    • that are based on samples that are too small [or]
    • that don't follow from the evidence provided.
    And science is bad — or at least weak — when proponents of a position jump to conclusions on insufficient or inconsistent data.
    (p 153)

    But while these scientific criteria may be clear in principle, knowing when they apply in practice is a judgment call.
    For this scientists rely on peer review. …
    Scientific journals submit all papers to peer review.
    Typically three experts are asked to comment. …
    The EPA report on passive smoking was reviewed [by] nine experts and nine consultants …
    (p 154)

    Unlike Singer (a physicist), Jeffreys (a lawyer), and Milloy (a lobbyist), these were true experts:
    • a professor of medicine at Yale University;
    • a senior staff scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory;
    • the chief of Air and Industrial Hygiene for the California Department of Health, and
    • six others, all medical doctors or PhD scientists.
    And they reviewed it not once, but twice.
    [And their conclusion?]
    The Committee concurs with the judgment of EPA that environmental tobacco smoke should be classified as a Class A carcinogen.
    (p 155)

    The very fact that Singer was recycling arguments from earlier debates about nuclear power and pesticides — alongside Singer's previous activities to defend acid rain and CFCs — suggests that none of this was really about the science of secondhand smoke. …
    For the tobacco industry, of course, [it was simply about protecting] profits. …
    But [what was it that led] Fred Singer, Fred Seitz, and the other scientists [to make] common cause with the tobacco industry?
    [Part of the answer is that] these scientists, and the think tanks that helped to promote their views, were implacably hostile to regulation.
    Regulation was the road to Socialism — the very thing the Cold War was fought to defeat.
    [Yet underpinning this] hostility to regulation was a larger political ideology …
    [The] ideology of the free market …
    [Free] market fundamentalism.


    Using Tobacco to Defend Free Enterprise


    FOREST [Freedom Organisation for the Right to Enjoy Smoking Tobacco] purported to be a grassroots organization, defending the rights of smokers [but was, in fact, created by] the British Tobacco Advisory Council …
    (p 162)

    They launched an attack on the London Science Museum for an exhibit on passive smoking that they labeled "junk science," and issued a "Good Smoker's Airline Guide" steering readers to smoke-friendly airlines and encouraging them to boycott British Airways for its smoking ban. …
    They conducted campaigns to fight smoking bans in hotels and pubs, [challenged] antismoking education in British schools, and [defended] the rights of smokers to adopt children.
    FOREST also sought to fund research to highlight the social and economic costs of smoking restrictions and high tobacco taxes.

    A 1994 FOREST report entitled “Through the Smokescreen of Science: The Dangers of Politically Corrupted Science for Democratic Public Policy" claimed much the same thing as Fred Singer had: that science was being rigged to advance a political agenda. …
    The introduction to the report was written by [Ralph] Harris {an avowed free market ideologue} who ran the British Institute of Economic Affairs and who is widely considered the architect of Thatcherism.
    … Margaret Thatcher had made Harris a [life peer] but he allegedly declined a coat of arms on the grounds that the invisible hand could not be blazoned.
    (p 163)

    Anti-Communism had launched the weapons and rocketry programs that launched the careers of Singer, Seitz, and Nierenberg …
    Their defense of freedom was a defense against Soviet Communism.
    But somehow … defending America against the Soviet threat had [morphed] into defending the tobacco industry against the US Environmental Protection Agency.

    … Russell Seitz, [younger] cousin of Frederick Seitz, had been enlisted by the Marshall Institute to attack not only Carl Sagan but the entire scientific community over the issue of nuclear winter, and to insist that the United States could triumph in a nuclear exchange with the Soviet Union …
    In the mid-1990s, the younger Seitz took up the defense of secondhand smoke …

    Seitz was affiliated with the John M Olin Institute for Strategic Studies at Harvard University …
    [So] why would a researcher at an Institute for Strategic Studies defend secondhand smoke?
    (p 164)

    [The answer is, that the] Olin Institute [along with the American Enterprise Institute, the Heritage Foundation, the Hoover Institution] was funded by the John M Olin Foundation [to promote free market ideas.]

    In an article in Forbes magazine, Seitz argued that [instead of] trying to control smoking, the government should fund research into making a safe cigarette.
    After all, the government funded all kinds of other safety devices, many of dubious value …
    Russell Seitz:
    Vast sums have been spent to good effect on reducing auto emissions and on curing — as well as preventing — AIDS. …
    [And since the] real culprit in smoking [was the smoke: why shouldn't the] US government [try and] figure out how to remove the smoke from [cigarettes?]
    Russell Seitz:
    Only one-tenth of one percent of a cigarette is nicotine, and it should not take a rocket scientist to devise a means to volatilizing that small drop of active ingredient without generating a thousand times its weight in burning leaves.
    Seitz was proposing that the government should spend tax payer money figuring out how to safely deliver nicotine-an addictive and toxic substance-to the American people.

    This sort of … approach might make sense for methadone since it helps people get off heroin, whose dangers to individuals and society are both grave and immediate.
    But what public good would be served by the government deliberately enabling people to continue to smoke?

    The answer was to preserve smokers' right to smoke …
    (p 165)

    [Society] has always understood that freedoms are never absolute. …
    All freedoms have their limits, and none more obviously than the freedom to kill other people, either directly with guns and knives, or indirectly with dangerous goods. …

    [These] old Cold Warriors were … attacking science in the name of freedom.
    Suppressing evidence.
    Misrepresenting what their colleagues had done and said.
    Taking quotes out of context.
    Making allegations that were unsupported by evidence.
    (p 166)

    If you believed in capitalism, you had to attack science, because science had revealed the hazards that capitalism had brought in its wake.
    (p 167)

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