In response to my challenge to provide evidence that Big Tobacco is lying about the ingredients in cigarettes or to remove the accusation from its website, the American Cancer Society has apparently done nothing at all. They have not removed the accusation. They have failed to explain how tobacco companies are lying about the ingredients in their products. They have opted not to clarify this claim. They have provided no additional evidence to support their claim.
The only "evidence" that the ACS has in fact provided is the following, which is listed on its fact sheet, entitled "Stop Big Tobacco From Lying About Their Ingredients," which purports to explain "how Big Tobacco is lying about their ingredients":
"Cigarette smoke contains more than 4,000 chemicals, including at least 69 that cause cancer. These dangerous chemicals include arsenic, formaldehyde, ammonia and radioactive Polonium-210. Yet most Americans don’t know what’s really in a cigarette because tobacco companies are not required to disclose the contents of their products or to remove dangerous ingredients. This legislation would force the tobacco companies to disclose what is in their products, to take out dangerous chemicals and to stop marketing these deadly and addictive products to our kids."
The Rest of the Story
As it stands, the American Cancer Society's argument appears to be that tobacco companies are lying about the ingredients in their cigarettes because they are failing to disclose the contents of their products. But that destroys their contention that the companies are lying. If the companies are refusing to disclose what is in their products, then they are in fact not lying about their ingredients; they are simply not disclosing those ingredients. It seems to me like the American Cancer Society has pretty much destroyed its own argument.
I have to confess that I really don't understand the reasoning here. The tobacco companies are not telling the public what is in their cigarettes - therefore, they are lying. It doesn't make sense to me. If they are not making claims about what is in their products, then they are in fact not lying. They just aren't telling. You can't lie if you keep your mouth shut.
Unfortunately, I'm afraid that the ACS is going to undermine not only its own credibility, but that of the entire tobacco control movement. And this is significant, because if we are making a baseless accusation that the tobacco companies are lying, then what credibility do we have in asserting that the companies are lying when they really are?
I have no problem with requiring the tobacco companies to disclose the ingredients in their products, but I think it's time that we require the American Cancer Society to disclose their evidence that Big Tobacco is lying about the ingredients of their products. If we're going to require full disclosure, then let's go ahead and require full disclosure.
It's looking more and more like the American Cancer Society has joined the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids in descending to the lowest level of behavior in promoting the FDA tobacco legislation.
Are they really that desperate that they have to resort to this? The bill must be pretty darn bad if you have to turn to dishonesty and deception in order to promote it.