Sunday, February 19, 2006

Joe Jackson Says

Hello.I agree that FOREST has one hand tied behind its back by the tobacco industry. Just as significantly, FOREST's support from the tobacco industry gives the antismoking lobby - and much of the mainstream media - a great excuse to simply dismiss anything they say, regardless of the facts. For instance, even when FOREST commissions opinion polls from reputable independent companies like the British Market Research Bureau or Populus, the results (large majorities against total smoking bans) go unpublished, while phony antismoking stunts like the self-selecting YouGov email poll are given massive coverage. Having said that, FOREST is at least there, as a visible opposition, and I will continue to support FOREST and urge others to do so.Having said that, I agree that it would be good to have a new, independent, campaign, and I would be happy to be a part of it. In my opinion it should be pretty much a one-issue campaign, and that issue is so-called 'secondhand smoke'. Many people know that this is just about the biggest fraud ever foisted on the public in the name of 'health'. However, when we try to say so, we run up against two problems: (1) our lack of 'medical credentials' as opposed to the BMA, CMO etc, and (2) the fact that smoking has been so demonised, and smokers so stigmatised, that it is not politically realistic to defend us or indeed for us even to defend ourselves.This is why what is needed is a relentless and determined campaign not for smokers or smokers' rights, but specifically to expose a public health hoax. There is no point in comparing Tony Blair to Hitler or even arguing about civil rights and freedom of choice; it hasn't worked. ETS was basically invented to blow away those arguments, so it is ETS that has to be addressed. That way it becomes not about tobacco but about truth and accountability. Such a campaign may well have more chance of getting support, since I believe there is quite a bit skepticism about ETS out there. Did you see Dominic Lawson's article in The Independent (Feb 17)? And two others by Tim Luckhurst? And Tom Utley in The Telegraph? There are even politicians who are skeptical, including (I know for a fact) John Reid. I believe there are also doctors and academics out there who are afraid to speak out 'on behalf of smokers' but may be willing to speak out against dishonesty which could ultimately undermine the credibility of anything the medical establishment says.I believe this is the key to the whole thing. Yes, many of us believe that the risks of active smoking are also exagerrated, but the fact is that no one wants to hear that at the moment. The case against the ETS fraud, however, can be PROVEN.Which brings me to what should be the next step: someone has to figure out how to get this into a court of law. With people like Dr Ken Denson willing to give evidence, a judge would have to take an unbiased look at the real evidence. The right lawsuit could bring the whole charade crashing down in flames. Why can't anyone seem to figure out how to go about this? I am not a lawyer, but it seems to me that for instance, someone representing the Scottish hospitality industry, when the ban comes in there, should sue the Scottish Executive for unfairly restricting and dictating to their business ON THE BASIS OF A PHONEY SCIENTIFIC JUSTIFICATION (not on the basis of smokers' rights or free choice). I believe that such a lawsuit could succeed, and at that point - but in my opinion, not before - people will start wondering whether the whole antismoking thing has been a witch-hunt all along.I also recommend working with smart people in other countries, like Michael McFadden in the US and Wiel Maessen in the Netherlands; this is definitely an international fight.