Friday, 1 June 2012
Allies retaliate against prohibitionists in the Lancet
I was trying to think of a suitable and concise word to describe the collection of people who fight most visibly against the smoking ban and related tobacco control measures. I hope nobody will be offended by the use of the word Allies! It's only a name after all.
The original Lancet letter was written last December by STIVORO, the Dutch tobacco control outfit, and a collection of professional tobacco control activists who are appalled at official Dutch resistance to the collective tobacco control wisdom: Robert West, Stanton Glantz ... see for yourselves. Its chief exhibit of evidence is a diagram that purports to show that the Dutch public is less aware of the dangers of tobacco than the rest of humankind: this diagram is used as the basis of a claim that tobacco control spending should be going up rather than down. The reply, signed by a handful of anti-tobacco control activists on both sides of the Atlantic, points out that nowhere has any significant reduction taken place following smoking bans, and that the proposed cuts in smoking cessation activities by the Dutch health authorities will mostly remain intact. It includes a table showing the smoking figures, complete with sources.
Two of the authors of the Lancet letter acknowledge competing interests, although all are associated with tobacco control and public health charities. Personally I find the Allies' response far more persuasive and supported by a better quality of evidence.